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Probably King William IV

8 of 174 portraits of King William IV

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Probably King William IV

attributed to Sir George Hayter
pencil, circa 1825-1828
12 1/4 in. x 8 in. (311 mm x 203 mm)
Given by Mary A. Sadler, 1911
Primary Collection
NPG 1632

Sitterback to top

  • King William IV (1765-1837), Reigned 1830-37. Sitter associated with 174 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir George Hayter (1792-1871), Portrait and history painter; son of Charles Hayter. Artist associated with 198 portraits, Sitter associated with 16 portraits.

Linked publicationsback to top

Subject/Themeback to top

Events of 1825back to top

Current affairs

Strikes, contract breaking and worker intimidation prompt the passing of a new Anti-Trade Union Combination Act to the dismay of economist John McCulloch, MP Joseph Hume and radical Francis Place who had worked for the repeal of the previous year.
Catholic Relief Bill is rejected by the House of Lords.

Art and science

Construction of Thames Tunnel begins under the direction of Marc Isambard Brunel.
Stockton to Darlington Railway, the world's first passenger system, opens.
William Hazlitt publishes The Spirit of the Age; twenty-five pen-portraits of his contemporaries in the world of literature, philosophy and politics.


Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premieres in London.
John Quincy Adams is elected President of the United States.

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Jill McKechnie

25 March 2019, 14:49

Correction: In my previous post I mistakenly referred to "the identical pattern of 3 stars on the King's coat". In fact, there is just one star in the pencil drawing; and appear to be three on both the statue and the lithograph. This does not prove correspondence between the pencil drawing and the statue.
However the parallels in the simple clothing and the facial features convince me that this pencil drawing is a study for the statue, and should be attributed to Samuel Nixon or perhaps his brother James Henry Nixon.
I also note that the drawing style of this work is very different from other pencil and ink- and-wash drawings by Sir George Hayter, seen in this online collection. Hayter's pencil line is softer and the style impressionistic compared to this work, which is distinguished by its confident, incisive pencil lines, and deliberate, clear detail.

Jill McKechnie

12 March 2019, 00:21

I have been researching the life and work of Samuel Nixon (1804-1854) sculptor, and I am convinced that this a study for his statue of King William IV, which now stands at Greenwich. Possibly it is by his brother James Henry Nixon (1802-1857) painter, who drew a picture of the statue, titled King William Street (the original location of the statue), from which G. Hawkins created a lithograph. This lithograph is held by the Wakefield Collection, London Metropolitan Archives, Collage record 27840, and can be found online.
Comparing the three images: this pencil drawing, a photo of the statue, and the Hawkins lithograph, a number of details indicate that they are closely connected. First: between the pencil drawing and Samuel Nixon's statue I notice the undeniable likeness of the King's features, the line of the mouth, the proportions of his face, his calm gaze, and the simple, unadorned clothing. This was a feature of Nixon's statue: it was the Sailor King, dressed as he was when at sea, and standing in a naturalistic post; journalists commented on this when it was first erected.
Second, comparing the pencil drawing and the Hawkins/ J H Nixon lithograph: I notice the identical pattern of 3 stars on the King's coat. This leads me to conclude that the creator of the pencil drawing and the artist(s) who created the lithograph were, if not the same artist, then fully aware of the other's work. I believe that either Samuel Nixon, or his brother James Henry Nixon, drew this work in pencil.

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