Painting, Portrait of George III

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  • Studio of: Allan Ramsay (1713-1784)
  • London, England
  • ca. 1770
  • Oil on canvas, in gilded carved wood frame
  • 1936-375

Ramsay first painted George III in 1757 when he was still the Prince of Wales, long before his succession to the throne on October 25, 1760. After the coronation, which took place on September 22, 1761, Ramsay updated one of his---by then, several---extant full-length portraits to show the new king in state robes. At the same time, he executed an official, corresponding portrait of Queen Charlotte.

Colonial Williamsburg's portraits of George III and Charlotte (hers is acc. no. 1936-376) are not Ramsay's originals but, rather, good quality replicas from the artist's studio. Although initially Ramsay resolved to "give the last painting to all" his replicas with his own hand, he was quickly overcome by the enormity of the task. Ultimately, his studio produced more than 100 pairs of these monarchs' portraits (possibly more than 150), plus additional examples of the King and Queen individually. Necessarily, much of the work was delegated to assistants, among whom were David Martin, Philip Reinagle, Mary Black, Peter Vandyke, John Giles Eccard, and George Roth.

The multiple state portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte created in Ramsay's studio were distributed to various ambassadors and provincial governors as marks of office, but they also were sought avidly by heads of state, members of the Royal family, courtiers, corporations, and institutions.

Both Lord Botetourt and Lord Dunmore possessed portraits of the King and Queen that undoubtedly were very similar, if not virtually identical, to Colonial Williamsburg's pair. None of their examples has been located to date, however.

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