George, Prince of Wales was given no official duties by his father King George III. Jockeying for power, he sought to undermine the King by siding with the Whig opposition led by Charles James Fox. When the King went temporarily insane in 1788 William Pitt, the Tory Prime Minister, proposed a restricted Regency to protect the King's interests. The King's recovery three months later ended the 'Regency Crisis'. Pitt's Regency Bill was revived during the King's final illness. George was sworn Regent in 1811, crowned King in 1820 and ruled until 1830.In 1814, Lord Stewart, who had been appointed ambassador in Vienna and was a previous client of Thomas Lawrence, wanted to commission a portrait by him of the Prince Regent (later King George IV). He therefore arranged that Lawrence should be presented to the Prince Regent at a levee. Soon after, the Prince visited Lawrence at his studio in Russell Square. Lawrence wrote to his brother that 'To crown this honour, (he) engag'd to sit to me at one today and after a successful sitting of two hours, has just left me and comes again tomorrow and the next day.' The result was a drawing in the Royal Collection, this dashing oil sketch of his head in profile like a Classical god and a large portrait of him in Field Marshal's uniform.
Where to see this painting?
National Portrait Gallery, London
St Martin’s Place, London, Greater London, England, WC2H 0HE
If you are planning a visit to see this painting, check with the collection first. Paintings can be moved at short notice.