King George IV
- Extended Catalogue Entry
King George IV
after Sir Thomas Lawrence
oil on canvas, circa 1815, based on a work of 1815
95 in. x 61 in. (2413 mm x 1549 mm)
Bequeathed by Miss Lillie Belle Randell, 1931
Sitterback to top
- King George IV (1762-1830), Regent 1811-19; Reigned 1820-30. Sitter associated with 200 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), Portrait painter, collector and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 686 portraits, Sitter in 25 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The Prince Regent first sat to Thomas Lawrence in 1814 when Charles William Vane-Stewart commissioned this portrait. Until then the Prince had favoured other artists, as Lawrence was associated with Queen Caroline. The artist turned the 300-pound, 53-year-old Prince into an immaculate, wind-swept hero in the field marshal's uniform he so loved. William Hazlitt observed that 'Lawrence has with the magic of his pencil recreated the Prince Regent as a well-fleshed Adonis of thirty-three.'
Linked publicationsback to top
- Holmes, Richard; Crane, David; Woof, Robert; Hebron, Stephen, Romantics and Revolutionaries: Regency portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, 2002, p. 87
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 242
- Walker, Richard, Regency Portraits, 1985, p. 202
- Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 129
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1815back to top
Current affairsJohn and James Leigh Hunt are released from prison after a two year sentence for slandering the Prince of Wales in their outspoken, radical periodical the Examiner.
Corn Laws are introduced to protect against the collapse in prices which would inevitably follow peace with France, prompting riots in London.
Art and scienceHumphry Davy invents the miners' safety lamp though its reception is clouded by William Clanny and George Stephenson who present rival models in the same year.
British Institution arranges first in innovative series of Old Master exhibitions
provoking virulent attack on its patrons for neglecting contemporary art.
InternationalNapoleon returns to France from exile in Elba and resumes power until his abdication on 22 June; a period known as the 'Hundred Days'.
Battle of Waterloo concludes the Anglo-French struggle that had lasted more than a century. Peace of Vienna establishes Britain's global political, economic and imperial dominance which lasts for the next hundred years.
See this portrait
On display in Room 17 at the National Portrait Gallery
- Silhouettes display, 2004-05
- My Favourite Portrait by Jeremy Paxman
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Party Trail
- Thomas Lawrence Portraits
- landing banner
- Thomas Lawrence: Regency Power and Brilliance minisite
- Thomas Lawrence and picture framing
- William Hazlitt's Spirit of the Age
- Director's Trail by Nicholas Cullinan
- 2. Lawrence at work
- Bronze sculpture founders: a short history
- The Regency