After Sir Thomas Lawrence
"Portrait of George, Prince Regent, Later King George IV", first quarter 19th century
oil on canvas
Presented in an elaborate gesso and giltwood frame.
46" x 32", framed 58-1/2" x 44-1/2"
Notes: George Augustus Frederick was the eldest son of King George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. An intelligent, witty and charming figure, George - affectionately referred to as "Prinny" - was also flagrantly extravagant, known for his outrageous excesses and wasteful spending. After his father fell severely ill, Parliament, fearing that the populace's faith in the monarchy would weaken, made the unusual and extreme decision to name the young man Prince Regent, making him the essential head of the country. This portrait captures Prince George at the height of his Regency.
Initially admired by the English people, his rambunctious, careless behavior - including a clandestine and essentially illegal marriage to the twice widowed Catholic Maria Fitzherbert - soon became uncontrollable. Severely in debt, Parliament agreed to honor his debts only if he agreed to marry his first cousin Caroline of Brunswick. The marriage was an unmitigated disaster; both parties took an instant dislike to each other and the majority of their marriage was spent in separate countries.
This impressive portrait is a copy of the 1816 painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence, which is conserved at the Vatican Museum, Vatican City. It reveals the then Prince Regent in all his glory - the lush clothing, insignia and badges of the many orders of which he was a member, the careful posturing of his figure. A later portrait completed for the King's coronation and dated 1821, is nearly identical except for its inclusion of scarlet, ermine-edged robes.
In generally very good condition. Canvas relined. Scattered craquelure, surface soiling, minor
accretions and a small area of surface abrasions to lower edge. Inpainting touch-ups to the floor, lower
edge, a few spots on the top left of the red curtain and at mid-right edge. Possible old tear repair at
bottom of the white cape (approximately 5" long). Some "fading" spots to the varnish surface bottom area
of the red curtain, blue cape and right above the garter on the proper left knee.