King William IV
- Extended Catalogue Entry
King William IV
by Sir Martin Archer Shee
oil on canvas, circa 1800
87 in. x 59 in. (2210 mm x 1499 mm)
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 1928
Sitterback to top
- King William IV (1765-1837), Reigned 1830-37. Sitter associated with 145 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Martin Archer Shee (1769-1850), Portrait painter and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 88 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Depicted here in the full-dress uniform of an admiral William spent much of his life as a naval officer. Known for his robust quarterdeck attitudes and his lower-deck language he was described by Queen Victoria as 'very odd and singular'.
Linked publicationsback to top
- 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. 153
- Ormond, Richard, Early Victorian Portraits, 1973, p. 507
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 664
- Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 142
- Williamson, David, The National Portrait Gallery: History of the Kings and Queens of England, 1998, p. 146
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1800back to top
Current affairsWidespread food riots after poor harvests of 1798-9. Theorist, Thomas Malthus, controversially argues that poverty and food shortages are an inevitable consequence of population growth, challenging assumptions that populousness was a sign of national prosperity and power. His thesis contributed forcefully to the debate over the existing Poor Law.
Art and scienceWilliam Wordsworth publishes his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads; a retrospective explanation of his experimental poems written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It becomes one of the best-known manifestos of Romantic literature.
InternationalLord Castlereagh, Chief Secretary for Ireland, is the main architect of the Act of Union under which Ireland is merged with Great Britain and the Irish parliament is abolished.
British troops support successful uprising by Maltese against the French.
Napoleon is victorious against Austrians at Marengo and reconquers Italy.
See this portrait
On display in Room 17 at the National Portrait Gallery