The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

King George III

King George III, studio of Allan Ramsay, based on a work of 1761-1762 - NPG 223 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

  • Larger Image
  • Image zoom
  • Buy a print
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

King George III

studio of Allan Ramsay
oil on canvas, based on a work of 1761-1762
58 in. x 42 in. (1473 mm x 1067 mm)
Purchased, 1866
Primary Collection
NPG 223

On display at Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Australia

Sitterback to top

  • King George III (1738-1820), Reigned 1760-1820. Sitter associated with 190 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Allan Ramsay (1713-1784), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 120 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, George was the first Hanoverian King to be born and bred in England. His reign from 1760 was one of the longest and most eventful in modern times. Although plagued by apparent bouts of insanity, he maintained a meticulous personal interest in government until 1811. A patron of the arts and sciences, he amassed an extensive library and fostered an interest in agriculture. His obstinate attitude towards the demands of the American colonies led to the loss of these territories and the close of the first British empire. This portrait shows the King in his coronation robes; it is one of the numerous replicas issued by Ramsay of the coronation portrait which he painted in 1761. Many of these found their way to Britain's newly acquired colonial territories where they represented the authority of the nascent British empire.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 224: Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (companion portrait)
  • NPG D48150: King George III (source portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Audio Guide
  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina ., Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. 161 Read entry

    The eldest son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, George III was the first Hanoverian king to be born and bred in England. His reign was one of the longest and most eventful in modern times, and included the loss of the American colonies. Although plagued by mental illness, he maintained a meticulous personal interest in government until 1811. He first met German-born Charlotte on their wedding day on 8 September 1761. Overcoming initial obstacles of language, they forged a strong and affectionate bond and had fifteen children, of whom thirteen survived into adulthood.

    Issued by the talented Scottish court artist Allan Ramsay, these portraits (NPG 224 and NPG 223) are two of several versions of the State portraits that he painted in 1761 and 1762. The royal couple are shown in great splendour wearing the matching gold and ermine costumes worn at the coronation on 22 September 1761. Ramsay presents the young king with a grace and elegance that is complementary to the dignity and power of majesty. Many of the studio versions of these pictures found their way to Britain's newly acquired colonial territories, where they represented the authority of the nascent British Empire.

  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina ., Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. Front Flap
  • Cooper, John, A Guide to the National Portrait Gallery, 2009, p. 27 Read entry

    Ramsay had to expand his studio and employ more assistants to meet the demand for portraits of the new monarch. ‘The ardour with which these beloved objects were sought for by distant corporations and transmarine colonies was astonishing’, said writer and magistrate Joseph Moser.

  • Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 63
  • Hart-Davis, Adam, Chain Reactions, 2000, p. 69
  • Ingamells, John, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, 2004, p. 192
  • Ross, Josephine, Jane Austen and her World, 2017, p. 10
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 241
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 180 Read entry

    Gilt compo on pine, mitred and pinned with corner blocks, the slip water gilt, the narrow sanded, drying cracks visible in the compo ornament. 4 3⁄ 4 inches wide.

    The framemakers Foord & Dickinson are better known for their fastidious frames for Ruskin, Rossetti, Lord Leighton and Edward Lear than for their work at the National Portrait Gallery from 1857 to 1869. When this portrait of George III and its companion of Queen Charlotte were acquired in 1866, Foord & Dickinson made 'Two Ornamental Frames' at the considerable cost of £8.12s each. In type they are a throwback to the early eighteenth century (see for example NPG 5734) but the large scale of the running ornament and the use of compo mark them out as Victorian imitations.

  • Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 135
  • Williamson, David, The National Portrait Gallery: History of the Kings and Queens of England, 1998, p. 139

Events of 1761back to top

Current affairs

George, Prince of Wales marries Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz at St James' Palace. He is crowned George III two weeks later.
Buckingham House, on the site of present-day Buckingham Palace, is purchased for the royal family.
Bridgewater canal, engineered by James Brindley, opens as Britain's first canal.




Art and science

Establishment of Matthew Boulton's toy factory, the Soho Manufactory, near Birmingham; considered the first modern factory in Britain.
Allan Ramsay becomes Painter to the King.

International

Seven Years' War: General Sir Eyre Coote captures Pondicherry from the French in India. A combined Prussian-Hanoverian-British force led by Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick defeats a large French army at the Battle of Villinghausen. France and Spain sign the Pacte de Famille forming an alliance against Britain. Prime Minister William Pitt the Elder fails to garner support to declare war on Spain.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.