King George II
1 of 58 portraits of King George II
- Extended catalogue entry
Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue
King George II
after Sir Godfrey Kneller, Bt
1716-1760, based on a work of 1716
61 1/4 in. x 23 1/2 in. (1556 mm x 597 mm)
This portraitback to top
Given to Dahl in the 1888 catalogue, NPG 205 relates to two portraits by Kneller, both signed and dated 1716, at Windsor Castle (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 344) and St James's Palace (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 343). The latter, with the companion portrait of Caroline (Sir Oliver Millar, The Tudor Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1963, 345, pl.148),  was apparently regarded as the official image of George, Prince of Wales, and his spouse. The portrait, after his accession, was repeatedly engraved with the crown added and accessories suitably altered. NPG 205 probably derives from some such source, perhaps J. Smith's engraving of 1727 showing the two-arched crown, but it is debatable whether the painting is of that year, or earlier and altered.
Physical descriptionback to top
Youthful face, dark bright eyes, full lips, long wig falling well below his shoulder, left; crimson ermine-edged mantle drawn back over a steel cuirass decorated with gilding, Garter ribbon, white cravat, full white sleeves, white stockings, elaborately decorated boots, crimson drapery held in his left hand at waist; the crown on a table, right; stone floor, dark brown curtain background.
Conservationback to top
Discoloured and perished varnish; some paint shrinkage in the background along the side stretchers; surface cleaned and varnished twice between 1895 and 1900.
Provenanceback to top
Bought, 1865, without artist's name, from Willis and Sotheran, booksellers of Charing Cross.
Reproductionsback to top
By J. Simon (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 73) and J. Smith (J. Chaloner Smith, British Mezzotinto Portraits, 1878-83, 103), 1717, both re-issued 1727; also by J. Faber junior, 1724 and G. Vertue, 1727.
This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.
Watch our playlist exploring scientific techniques used by the Gallery to unlock the secrets behind our Tudor portraits.
Subjects and themes
Search the collection by themes - from pets to weddings!
Black History Month
Take a tour exploring our Collection created by Alayo Akinkugbe for Black History Month in 2020.
A Picture of Health
Learn about pioneers in medicine, health and social reform from 1840 to 1920.