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'A voluptuary under the horrors of digestion' (King George IV)

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'A voluptuary under the horrors of digestion' (King George IV)

by James Gillray, published by Hannah Humphrey
hand-coloured stipple engraving, published 2 July 1792
14 1/4 in. x 11 3/8 in. (361 mm x 288 mm) paper size
acquired unknown source, 1867
Reference Collection
NPG D33359

Sitterback to top

  • King George IV (1762-1830), Regent 1811-19; Reigned 1820-30. Sitter associated with 273 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • James Gillray (1756-1815), Caricaturist. Artist associated with 881 portraits, Sitter in 7 portraits.
  • Hannah Humphrey (circa 1745-1818), Publisher and printseller. Artist associated with 719 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG D12460: King George IV ('A voluptuary under the horrors of digestion') (from same plate)

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. 151 Read entry

    The royal family were frequent subjects of the greatest satirist of the age, James Gillray. These two prints (NPG D12461 and NPG D33359) contrast the parsimonious king and queen eating boiled eggs and salad, while their notoriously extravagant son, the Prince of Wales, reclines in his chair having gorged himself on a huge meal of mutton, jellies and brandy. He is surrounded with multiple examples of his self-indulgence, gluttony and debauchery.

  • Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 149

Placesback to top

Events of 1792back to top

Current affairs

The famous seven year trial of Warren Hastings, Governor-General of Bengal, on charges of embezzlement and murder, ends with his acquittal. Pro-Revolutionary philosopher Joseph Priestley's house is destroyed by a mob on the anniversary of the fall of the Bastille. Their actions are later seen as a key moment in the defeat of Enlightenment ideals in England.

Art and science

Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; a radical work which called on women to be allies to one another; fearless in their support and free in their criticism.
Sir Joshua Reynolds dies and is succeeded by Benjamin West as President of the Royal Academy.

International

The mob invades the Tuileries and the French Royal Family is imprisoned marking the end of France's experiment with constitutional monarchy and the declaration of the first French Republic.
The Revolutionary Commune is established in Paris.
France declares war on Austria and then Prussia.

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