King George VI
© reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London
King George VI
by Sir Gerald Kelly
oil on canvas, circa 1941
39 1/8 in. x 30 7/8 in. (993 mm x 784 mm)
Artistback to top
- Sir Gerald Kelly (1879-1972), Painter and President of the Royal Academy. Artist associated with 27 portraits, Sitter in 11 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This study shows the King in the robes of the Order of the Garter and was made while Kelly was working on the State Portrait of the King in his coronation robes, now in the Royal Collection. Kelly stayed at Windsor Castle during the commission, using the Grand Reception Room as a studio. Kelly wrote that he ‘had to try and solve the problem of persuading this modest man to strike a decorative pose’.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 243
Placesback to top
- Place made: United Kingdom: England, Berkshire (artist's temporary studio, Grand Reception Room, Windsor Castle, Berkshire)
Events of 1941back to top
Current affairsThe Blitz continues with sustained Luftwaffe attacks on British cities. As the bombing went on the urban population got used to the black out, the air raid sirens and nights spent in shelter. The idea emerged (to some extent a myth) of the 'spirit of the Blitz' where people pulled together united, disregarding traditional class and social divisions.
Art and scienceFrank Whittle demonstrates the first test-flight of a plane powered by jet propulsion. Although the German, Hans von Ohain, built the first jet plane, Whittle was the first to patent a design for the jet engine (in 1930), and his subsequent work helped to advance the technology and made Britain leaders in the field.
InternationalThe Soviet Union and America join the Allies. The Soviet Union was forced to switch sides after Hitler attacked in June 1941, reneging the Soviet-Nazi pact. Six months later the US Navy was attacked by Japan at Pearl Harbour. The following day the USA declared war on Japan, and three days later Germany and Italy declared war on America.
See this portrait
On display in Room 31 at the National Portrait Gallery