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King George III

King George III, by Sir William Beechey, based on a work of circa 1800 -NPG 2502 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Mid-Georgian Portraits Catalogue

King George III

studio of Sir William Beechey
based on a work of circa 1800
92 in. x 57 in. (2337 mm x 1448 mm)
NPG 2502

This portraitback to top

A thinly painted studio version of Beechey’s whole length portrait in the Royal Collection, [1] exhibited RA 1800 (69). It omits the soldiers in the mid-distance, but shows the large ornate garden urn in the right foreground, now invisible in the Royal Collection picture, but which appears in the engraving by Benjamin Smith published in 1804. [2] Other whole-length versions show variations in the background: one at Hatfield includes Hatfield House; a distant view of Windsor Castle appears in a three-quarter length version sold American Art Association, 3 February 1938, lot 67, [3] and a different view of the Castle appears in a version sold Christie’s, 17 June 1966, lot 102; a reduced whole length, with an equestrian statue in the background, is in the National Maritime Museum (BHC 2711), and a version, formerly with Major E. Christie-Miller, shows the King wearing the blue uniform of Royal Horse Guards. [4]
Half-length versions, besides NPG 6250, include those at the Deakin University Museum of Art, Malvern, New South Wales; the National Library of Australia, Canberra; the Royal College of Physicians, London, [5] and in the Weymouth Museum.
A fine whole-length enamel copy dated 1801 by Henry Bone, [6] together with a bust length of 1801, [7] are in the Royal Collection, with other miniature versions by Richard Collins, Samuel Cotes and William Grimaldi. [8]

Footnotesback to top

1) Sir Oliver Millar, The Later Georgian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, I, 1969, no.658.
2) Several half-length plates were engraved between 1804 and 1820; F. O’Donoghue, Catalogue of a loan exhibition of Portraits of English historical personages who died between 1714 and 1837, exhibited in the Examination Schools, Oxford, 1906, II, p 301, lists ten.
3) Illus. W. Roberts, Sir William Beechey RA, 1907, f.p.106. Another three-quarter length version is at Schloss Greinburg.
4) Another reduced copy belongs to the Prince of Hanover.
5) Illus. Cat. of Portraits, 1977, p 119.
6) Preparatory drawing in NPG Bone albums (R. Walker, 'Henry Bone's Pencil Drawings in the National Portrait Gallery', Wal. Soc., LXI, 1999, no.216).
7) R. J. B. Walker, The eighteenth and early nineteenth century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1992, nos.744-45. A half-length enamel by Henry Bone sold Christie’s, 6 July 1965, lot 33.
8) R. J. B. Walker, The eighteenth and early nineteenth century Miniatures in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, 1992, nos.169, 205, 811-12, 323-24. Other miniature versions include half-lengths by Grimaldi (cf. Rev. A. Grimaldi, A Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings & Engravings by and after William Grimaldi, 1873, pp 8, 9, 23, 32) and by S. G. [S. Cotes?], dated 1807 (Bonham’s, 12 July 1993, lot 195).

Physical descriptionback to top

Wearing the red coat with the star of the Garter and white breeches of a General Officer.

Provenanceback to top

George, Duke of Cambridge; his sale Christie’s, 11 June 1904, lot 52 (unattributed); Miss Lillie Belle Randell, by whom bequeathed 1931 in memory of her sister, Mrs Cornelius Garrison (d. 1925).1

1 An ink label verso suggests Mrs Garrison (see Newcastle NPG 2504) may have bought the picture after the Cambridge sale: Mrs L. W. Garrison - W.1 King George 3rd by Sir Wm Beechey from the collection of H. R. H. the Duke of Cambridge 13/8/04 P206.

Exhibitionsback to top

War Office, 1931-41; Meet the Family, Welsh Arts Council, 1972-73 (25); George III, Yorktown, Va., 1977; Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, 1984-; Act of Union Bicentenary, Belfast, 2001.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Ingamells, National Portrait Gallery: Mid-Georgian Portraits 1760-1790, National Portrait Gallery, 2004, 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.

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