King George IV
- Extended catalogue entry
Regency Portraits Catalogue
King George IV
after Sir Thomas Lawrence
circa 1815, based on a work of 1815
95 in. x 61 in. (2413 mm x 1549 mm)
This portraitback to top
The portrait is a copy from Lawrence's studio of an original painted for Lord Charles Stewart, exhibited RA 1815 (65) and now at Wynyard Park in the collection of the first owner's direct descendant the Marquess of Londonderry. This was noted by Farington who was told by Lawrence 'that Lord Stewart had requested the Prince Regent to sit to Him for a whole length portrait in lieu of that which he should be entitled to as Ambassador to Vienna' (Diary, 23 July 1814). Farington later mentions five copies (Diary, 14 July 1815) and full-scale repetitions, apart from NPG 2503, are at Dublin Castle, Schloss Marienburg (2 copies), Knole (Lord Sackville) and Plas-Nèwydd (Lord Anglesey). A replica by Lawrence himself is at Tabley House (Colonel Leicester Warren). The Knole version is without the broad Ribbon of Hanover so that the Stars can clearly be seen to be the Garter, the Holy Spirit, the Bath and Hanover. Above the Golden Fleece is a jewel presumably intended to be the Holy Spirit but appearing more like an Angel with spread wings than the Dove. Tom Moore said 'Lawrence's Adonized George the Fourth is disgraceful both to the King and to the Painter; a lie upon canvas' (Diary, 3 May 1822).
The testatrix, Miss Randell, was the daughter of John Randell, a Missouri landowner, and lived with her sister unobtrusively in Grosvenor Square for over forty years. They were munificent benefactors to London hospitals, most of their generosities being anonymous (Evening News, 28 November 1931).
Referenceback to top
Kenneth Garlick, ‘Catalogue of Paintings, Drawings and Pastels of Sir Thomas Lawrence’ in Walpole Society Journal, XXXIX, 1964, p 86.
Physical descriptionback to top
Whole-length standing infield marshal's uniform, sword in right hand, plumed hat in left, blue Ribbon of Order of Hanover (with Badge at waist) nearly obscuring the Stars of Garter (top), Bath and Holy Spirit; at his neck the Badge of the Golden Fleece; grey eyes, dark brown windswept hair, fresh complexion; distant view of Windsor Castle in right background and edge of military tent in right corner, red flowers (lily and thistle) and foliage in left corner, stormy sky.
Provenanceback to top
HRH the Duke of Cambridge and his sale Christie's II June 1904 (95) bought Blakeslee; Miss Lillie Belle Randell of 25 Grosvenor Square and bequeathed by her 1931.
Exhibitionsback to top
Loan to HM Office of Works 1931-75 and hung at Storey's Gate and HM Embassy, Vienna.
This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: Richard Walker, Regency Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 1985, 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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