National Portrait Gallery, London
The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in London housing a collection of portraits of important and famous British people. It was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856; the gallery moved in 1896 to its current site at St Martin's Place, off Trafalgar Square, adjoining the National Gallery. It has been expanded twice since then; the National Portrait Gallery has regional outposts at Beningbrough Hall in Yorkshire and Montacute House in Somerset. It is unconnected to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh, with which its remit overlaps; the gallery is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture and Sport. The gallery houses portraits of important and famous British people, selected on the basis of the significance of the sitter, not that of the artist; the collection includes photographs and caricatures as well as paintings and sculpture. One of its best-known images is the Chandos portrait, the most famous portrait of William Shakespeare although there is some uncertainty about whether the painting is of the playwright.
Not all of the portraits are exceptional artistically, although there are self-portraits by William Hogarth, Sir Joshua Reynolds and other British artists of note. Some, such as the group portrait of the participants in the Somerset House Conference of 1604, are important historical documents in their own right; the curiosity value is greater than the artistic worth of a work, as in the case of the anamorphic portrait of Edward VI by William Scrots, Patrick Branwell Brontë's painting of his sisters Charlotte and Anne, or a sculpture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in medieval costume. Portraits of living figures were allowed from 1969. In addition to its permanent galleries of historical portraits, the National Portrait Gallery exhibits a changing selection of contemporary work, stages exhibitions of portrait art by individual artists and hosts the annual BP Portrait Prize competition; the three people responsible for the founding of the National Portrait Gallery are commemorated with busts over the main entrance.
At centre is Philip Henry Stanhope, 4th Earl Stanhope, with his supporters on either side, Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay and Thomas Carlyle. It was Stanhope who, in 1846 as a Member of Parliament, first proposed the idea of a National Portrait Gallery, it was not until his third attempt, in 1856, this time from the House of Lords, that the proposal was accepted. With Queen Victoria's approval, the House of Commons set aside a sum of £2000 to establish the gallery; as well as Stanhope and Macaulay, the founder Trustees included Benjamin Disraeli and Lord Ellesmere. It was the latter. Carlyle became a trustee after the death of Ellesmere in 1857. For the first 40 years, the gallery was housed in various locations in London; the first 13 years were spent at Westminster. There, the collection increased in size from 57 to 208 items, the number of visitors from 5,300 to 34,500. In 1869, the collection moved to Exhibition Road and buildings managed by the Royal Horticultural Society. Following a fire in those buildings, the collection was moved in 1885, this time to the Bethnal Green Museum.
This location was unsuitable due to its distance from the West End and lack of waterproofing. Following calls for a new location to be found, the government accepted an offer of funds from the philanthropist William Henry Alexander. Alexander donated £60,000 followed by another £20,000, chose the architect, Ewan Christian; the government provided the new site, St Martin's Place, adjacent to the National Gallery, £16,000. The buildings, faced in Portland stone, were constructed by Son. Both the architect, Ewan Christian, the gallery's first director, George Scharf, died shortly before the new building was completed; the gallery opened at its new location on 4 April 1896. The site has since been expanded twice; the first extension, in 1933, was funded by Lord Duveen, resulted in the wing by architect Sir Richard Allison on a site occupied by St George's Barracks running along Orange Street. In February 1909, a murder–suicide took place in a gallery known as the Arctic Room. In an planned attack, John Tempest Dawson, aged 70, shot his 58 year–old wife, Nannie Caskie.
His wife died in hospital several hours later. Both were American nationals. Evidence at the inquest suggested that Dawson, a wealthy and well–travelled man, was suffering from a Persecutory delusion; the incident came to public attention in 2010 when the Gallery's archive was put on-line as this included a personal account of the event by James Donald Milner the Assistant Director of the Gallery. The collections of the National Portrait Gallery were stored at Mentmore Towers in Buckinghamshire during the Second World War, along with pieces from the Royal Collection and paintings from Speaker's House in the Palace of Westminster; the second extension was funded by Sir Christopher Ondaatje and a £12m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, was designed by London-based architects Edward Jones and Jeremy Dixon. The Ondaatje Wing opened in 2000 and occupies a narrow space of land between the two 19th-century buildings of the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery, is notable for its immense, two-storey escalator that takes visitors to the earliest part of the collection, the Tudor portraits.
In January 2008, the Gallery received its largest single donation to date
Princess Royal is a substantive title customarily awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. There have been seven Princesses Royal. Princess Anne is the current Princess Royal. Queen Elizabeth II never held the title as her aunt, Princess Mary, was in possession of the title; the title Princess Royal came into existence when Queen Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV, King of France, wife of King Charles I, wanted to imitate the way the eldest daughter of the King of France was styled "Madame Royale". Thus Princess Mary, the daughter of Henrietta Maria and Charles, became the first Princess Royal in 1642. Princess Mary, eldest daughter of King James II & VII, Princess Sophia Dorothea, only daughter of King George I, were eligible for this honour but did not receive it. At the time she became eligible for the title, Princess Mary was Princess of Orange, while Sophia Dorothea was Queen in Prussia when she became eligible for the title. Princess Louisa Maria, the last daughter of King James II, born after he lost his crown in the Glorious Revolution of 1688-1689, was considered to be Princess Royal during James's exile by Jacobites at Saint-Germain-en-Laye and was so called by Jacobites though she was not James's eldest living daughter at any time during her life.
Before the title of Princess Royal came into use in England, the eldest daughter of the King or Queen of England had a special status in law. For instance, according to Magna Carta, the barons of the realm owed aids to finance the first wedding of the king's eldest daughter; the following is a complete list of women formally styled Princess Royal: In the House of M alternate universe of Marvel Comics, Elizabeth Braddock is the elder twin sister of the British King and bears the title Princess Royal. The novel The Lady Royal, by Molly Costain Haycraft, is a fictionalized account of the life of Isabella de Coucy. According to the narrative, Isabella was titled the Princess Royal and later given the more'adult' title of the Lady Royal by her parents; this is a fabrication. The title of "the Lady Royal" has never existed. Princess Royal was one of the GWR 3031 Class locomotives that were built for and run on the Great Western Railway between 1891 and 1915; the LMS Class 8P "Princess Royal" 4-6-2 was a type of express passenger locomotive built between 1933 and 1935 by the London Midland & Scottish Railway Princess Royal is an abandoned town in the Western Australian Goldfields, named for Victoria, Princess Royal, daughter of Queen Victoria.
Five ships of the Royal Navy have been named HMS Princess Royal. "The Princess Royal" is the name of a folk tune from the British Isles, of a morris dance performed to that tune. In the Thai monarchy, the style of Sayamboromrajakumari for Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand is similar to the position of Princess Royal. In the Kingdom of Tonga, Princess Sālote Mafileʻo Pilolevu is the Princess Royal. In a number of African monarchies, the title of the principal non-spousal female titleholder in the kingdom is translated as Princess Royal; this happens in kingdoms that don't make use of the higher title of queen mother. Princess Elizabeth, Batebe of Toro in Uganda, for example has her title translated in this manner; this happens though it has meant something closer to "queen sister"
James Gillray was a British caricaturist and printmaker famous for his etched political and social satires published between 1792 and 1810. Many of his works are held at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Gillray has been called "the father of the political cartoon", with his works satirizing George III, prime ministers and generals. Regarded as being one of the two most influential cartoonists, the other being William Hogarth, Gillray's wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists, he was born in London. His father, a native of Lanark, had served as a soldier: he lost an arm at the Battle of Fontenoy and was admitted, first as an inmate and subsequently as an outdoor pensioner, at Chelsea Hospital. Gillray commenced life by learning letter-engraving. Finding this employment irksome, he wandered for a time with a company of strolling players. After a chequered experience, he returned to London and was admitted as a student in the Royal Academy, supporting himself by engraving, issuing a considerable number of caricatures under fictitious names.
His caricatures are all in etching, some with aquatint, a few using stipple technique. None can be described as engravings, although this term is loosely used to describe them. Hogarth's works were the study of his early years. Paddy on Horseback, which appeared in 1779, is the first caricature, his. Two caricatures on Admiral Rodney's naval victory at the Battle of the Saintes, issued in 1782, were among the first of the memorable series of his political sketches; the name of Gillray's publisher and print seller, Hannah Humphrey—whose shop was first at 227 Strand in New Bond Street in Old Bond Street, in St James's Street—is inextricably associated with that of the caricaturist himself. Gillray lived with Miss Humphrey during the entire period of his fame, it is believed that he several times thought of marrying her, that on one occasion the pair were on their way to the church, when Gillray said: "This is a foolish affair, Miss Humphrey. We live comfortably together. There is no evidence, however, to support the stories which scandalmongers invented about their relations.
One of Gillray's prints, "Twopenny Whist," is a depiction of four individuals playing cards, the character shown second from the left, an ageing lady with eyeglasses and a bonnet, is believed to be an accurate depiction of Miss Humphrey. Gillray's plates were exposed in Humphrey's shop window. One of his prints, Very Slippy-Weather, shows Miss Humphrey's shop in St. James's Street in the background. In the shop window a number of Gillray's published prints, such as Tiddy-Doll the Great French Gingerbread Maker, Drawing Out a New Batch of Kings. Gillray's eyesight began to fail in 1806, he began wearing spectacles but they were unsatisfactory. Unable to work to his previous high standards, James Gillray became depressed and started drinking heavily, he produced his last print in September 1809. As a result of his heavy drinking Gillray suffered from gout throughout his life, his last work, from a design by Bunbury, is entitled Interior of a Barber's Shop in Assize Time, is dated 1811. While he was engaged on it he became mad, although he had occasional intervals of sanity, which he employed on his last work.
The approach of madness may have been hastened by his intemperate habits. In July 1811 Gillray attempted to kill himself by throwing himself out of an attic window above Humphrey's shop in St James's Street. Gillray lapsed into insanity and was looked after by Hannah Humphrey until his death on 1 June 1815 in London. A number of his most trenchant satires are directed against George III, after examining some of Gillray's sketches, said "I don't understand these caricatures." Gillray revenged himself for this utterance by his caricature entitled, A Connoisseur Examining a Cooper, which he is doing by means of a candle on a "save-all". During the French Revolution, Gillray took a conservative stance. A number of these were published in the Anti-Jacobin Review, he is not, however, to be thought of as a keen political adherent of either the Whig or the Tory party. The times in which Gillray lived were peculiarly favourable to the growth of a great school of caricature. Party warfare was carried on with not a little bitterness.
Gillray's incomparable wit and humour, knowledge of life, fertility of resource, keen sense of the ludicrous, beauty of execution, at once gave him the first place among caricaturists. He is honourably distinguished in the history of caricature by the fact that his sketches are real works of art; the ideas embodied in some of them are sublime and poetically magnificent in their intensity of meaning, while the forthrightness—which some have called coarseness—which others display is characteristic of the general freedom of treatment common in all intellectual departments in the 18th century. The historical value of Gillray's work has been recognized by many disce
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover following the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten years later. From 1811 until his accession, he served as Prince Regent during his father's final mental illness. George IV led an extravagant lifestyle, he was a patron of new forms of leisure and taste. He commissioned John Nash to build the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and remodel Buckingham Palace, Sir Jeffry Wyattville to rebuild Windsor Castle, his charm and culture earned him the title "the first gentleman of England", but his dissolute way of life and poor relationships with his parents and his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, earned him the contempt of the people and dimmed the prestige of the monarchy. He forbade Caroline to attend his coronation and asked the government to introduce the unpopular Pains and Penalties Bill in a desperate, unsuccessful attempt to divorce her. For most of George's regency and reign, Lord Liverpool controlled the government as Prime Minister.
George's ministers found his behaviour selfish and irresponsible. At all times he was much under the influence of favourites. Taxpayers were angry at his wasteful spending during the Napoleonic Wars, he act as a role model for his people. Liverpool's government presided over Britain's ultimate victory, negotiated the peace settlement, attempted to deal with the social and economic malaise that followed. After Liverpool's retirement, George was forced to accept Catholic emancipation despite opposing it, his only legitimate child, Princess Charlotte, died before him in 1817 and so he was succeeded by his younger brother, William. George was born at St James's Palace, London, on 12 August 1762, the first child of the British king George III and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; as the eldest son of a British sovereign, he automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay at birth. On 18 September of the same year, he was baptised by Archbishop of Canterbury, his godparents were the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the Duke of Cumberland and the Dowager Princess of Wales.
George was a talented student, learned to speak French and Italian, in addition to his native English. At the age of 18 he was given a separate establishment, in dramatic contrast with his prosaic, scandal-free father, threw himself with zest into a life of dissipation and wild extravagance involving heavy drinking and numerous mistresses and escapades, he was a witty conversationalist, drunk or sober, showed good, but grossly expensive, taste in decorating his palace. The Prince of Wales turned 21 in 1783, obtained a grant of £60,000 from Parliament and an annual income of £50,000 from his father, it was far too little for his needs – the stables alone cost £31,000 a year. He established his residence in Carlton House, where he lived a profligate life. Animosity developed between the prince and his father, who desired more frugal behaviour on the part of the heir apparent; the King, a political conservative, was alienated by the prince's adherence to Charles James Fox and other radically inclined politicians.
Soon after he reached the age of 21, the prince became infatuated with Maria Fitzherbert. She was a commoner, six years his elder, twice widowed, a Roman Catholic; the prince was determined to marry her. This was in spite of the Act of Settlement 1701, which barred the spouse of a Catholic from succeeding to the throne, the Royal Marriages Act 1772, which prohibited his marriage without the King's consent; the couple went through a marriage ceremony on 15 December 1785 at her house in Park Street, Mayfair. The union was void, as the King's consent was not granted. However, Fitzherbert believed that she was the prince's canonical and true wife, holding the law of the Church to be superior to the law of the State. For political reasons, the union remained secret and Fitzherbert promised not to reveal it; the prince was plunged into debt by his exorbitant lifestyle. His father refused to assist him, forcing him to quit Carlton House and live at Fitzherbert's residence. In 1787, the prince's political allies proposed to relieve his debts with a parliamentary grant.
The prince's relationship with Fitzherbert was suspected, revelation of the illegal marriage would have scandalised the nation and doomed any parliamentary proposal to aid him. Acting on the prince's authority, the Whig leader Charles James Fox declared that the story was a calumny. Fitzherbert was not pleased with the public denial of the marriage in such vehement terms and contemplated severing her ties to the prince, he appeased her by asking another Whig, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, to restate Fox's forceful declaration in more careful words. Parliament, granted the prince £161,000 to pay his debts and £60,000 for improvements to Carlton House. In the summer of 1788 the King's mental health deteriorated as the result of the hereditary disease porphyria, he was nonetheless able to discharge some of his duties and to declare Parliament prorogued from 25 September to 20 November. During the prorogation he became deranged, posing a threat to his own life, when Parliament reconvened in November the King could not deliver th
Sir William Beechey was a leading English portraitist of the golden age of British painting. Beechey was born at Burford, Oxfordshire, on 12 December 1753, the son of William Beechey, a solicitor, his wife Hannah Read. Both parents died when he was still quite young, he and his siblings were brought up by his uncle Samuel, a solicitor who lived in nearby Chipping Norton; the uncle was determined that the young Beechey should follow a career in the law, at an appropriate age he was entered as a clerk with a conveyancer near Stow-on-the-Wold. But as The Monthly Mirror recorded in July 1798, he was: "Early foredoomed his soul to cross/ And paint a picture where he should engross." Beechey was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1772, where he is thought to have studied under Johan Zoffany. He first exhibited at the Academy in 1776, his earliest surviving portraits are small-scale full-length and conversation pieces which are reminiscent of Zoffany. In 1782, he moved to Norwich, where he gained several commissions, including a portrait of Sir John Wodehouse and a series of civic portraits for St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich.
By 1787, he had returned to London, in 1789, he exhibited a celebrated portrait of John Douglas, Bishop of Carlisle. Beechey’s career during this period is marked by a succession of adept and restrained portraits in the tradition of Sir Joshua Reynolds. Beechey’s style suited the conventional taste of the royal family, in 1793, he was commissioned to paint a full-length portrait of Queen Charlotte and subsequently named as her official portrait painter; that same year, he was elected as an associate member of the Royal Academy. Following his royal appointment, the number of royal commissions he undertook increased markedly, in 1797 he exhibited six royal portraits. In 1798, he was elected a full member of the Royal Academy and painted George III and the Prince of Wales Reviewing Troops for that year’s academy’s exhibition; this enormous composition depicts King George III, the Prince of Wales and staff officers on horseback at an imagined cavalry review in Hyde Park. The king was rewarded Beechey with a knighthood.
Joseph Farington's Diaries give many accounts of Beechey's relations with the royal family during this period, including his temporary fall from favour in 1804, which Farington attributes to the vagiaries of George III’s mental condition. Beechey's portraits of the turn of the century are considered to be his most lively, they are closer to the flamboyant and free techniques employed by his younger rivals, John Hoppner and Sir Thomas Lawrence. Royal patronage resumed in around 1813, when Beechey was appointed portrait painter to Prince William Frederick, Duke of Gloucester, culminated with his appointment in 1830 as principal portrait painter to King William IV. In 1836, Beechey retired to Hampstead and on 9-11 June that year, the contents of his studio along with his collection were sold at Christie’s. Although capable of impetuousness and irascibility, Beechey was known for his generosity to students. In particular, he took a close interest in the career of the young John Constable. During a prolific career spanning half a century, Beechey painted many of the leading figures of his day.
His sitters included: In his 1978 novel Desolation Island, Patrick O'Brian wrote that Capt. Jack Aubrey had been painted by Beechey; the portrait, which showed Aubrey in Royal Navy uniform wearing the insignia of the Order of the Bath, hung in his home, Ashgrove Cottage. William Beechey's first marriage was to Mary Ann Jones in 1772, they had five children: Emma Amalia Beechey Henry William Beechey British painter and Egyptologist Charles Beechey Caroline Beechey Harriet Beechey He secondly married the successful miniature painter Anne Phyllis Jessop in 1793 and they had 16 children: Ann Phyllis Beechey Frederick William Beechey, Royal Navy captain, politician George Duncan Beechey, painter Anna Dodsworth Beechey William Nelson Beechey Charlotte Earl Beechey Alfred Beechey St. Vincent Beechey, clergyman Richard Brydges Beechey and admiral in the British navy Jane Henrietta Frances Beechey Augusta Beechey Fredericka Anne Beechey William Ernest Beechey Frances Beechey Phyliss Beechey a daughter S. R. Beechey Beechey’s Portrait of James Watt sold for £153,440 at Sotheby’s on 20 March 2003.
His Portrait of Mirza Abu'l Hassan Khan, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of King George III sold for £181,600 at Christie’s on 8 June 2006. His Portrait of George Douglas, 16th Earl of Morton in the dress of the Royal Company of Archers sold for £481,250 at Christie’s on 5 July 2011, his portrait of The Dashwood Children sold at auction for $821,000 including premium at Christie’s on 29 January 2014. Beechey’s works are represented in many of the world’s leading collections, including the Louvre, the Smithsonian Institution, the Royal Collection, the Royal Academy of Arts, the National Portrait Gallery, the Tate and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Redgrave, Richard. A Century of Painters of the English School. Sampson Low, Marston. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list Roberts, W.. Sir William Beechey, R. A. London: Duckwort
Ozias Humphry was a leading English painter of portrait miniatures oils and pastels, of the 18th century. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1791, in 1792 he was appointed Portrait Painter in Crayons to the King. Humphry is the spelling Ozias himself used in his signature on the backing card of his miniature of Charlotte, Princess Royal; this is the spelling given in the catalogues of the annual exhibitions of the Royal Academy from 1779 to 1795. The different spelling in the far more common form of Humphrey may well be due to a mistake but was in use during his own lifetime, it appears thus in the Royal Academy catalogues for the years 1796 and 1797 as well as in the writings of Horace Walpole and John Thomas Smith. Humphry is the used spelling today. Born and schooled in Honiton, Humphry was attracted by the gallery of casts opened by the Duke of Richmond and came to London to study art at Shipley's school, he studied art in Bath. As a young artist, he found his talent encouraged by Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds, among others.
His problems with his sight, which led to blindness, began in the early 1770s and forced him to paint larger works in oils and pastel. He traveled to Italy in 1773 with his great friend George Romney, stopping en route at Knole, near Sevenoaks in Kent, where the Duke of Dorset commissioned several works from him, his stay in Italy lasted until 1777. On his return, his numerous subjects included George Stubbs, fellow academician Dominic Serres, the chemist Joseph Priestley, a portrait claimed to be of the teenage Jane Austen, from as early as 1790, known as the "Rice" portrait after a owner, though this has always been a controversial attribution of the sitter; this failed to reach its minimum estimate in a Christie's auction in April 2007, was withdrawn from sale. His pupils included John Opie, he compiled a fifty-page manuscript A Memoir of George Stubbs, based on what Stubbs had related to him. This was edited and published in the 1870s and republished in 2005, he knew William Blake and commissioned copies of some of his illustrated books.
At least one of Blake's letters to him is a significant document for Blake's biographers. From 1785 to 1787, he travelled to India, producing many sketches, he was elected a member of the Royal Academy in 1791. In 1792 he was appointed Portrait Painter in Crayons to the King. Most of his many portraits of the Royal Family are still in the Royal Collection, his sight failed in 1797, he died in 1810 in Hampstead, north London. The bulk of his possessions came into the hands of his natural son, William Upcott, the book collector. From him the British Museum acquired a large number of papers relating to Humphry, he is alluded to in some lines by Hayley. Humphry is said to be the painter of the Rice portrait of Jane Austen, although both the attribution and the identity of the sitter are disputed; this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Humphry, Ozias". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press. 10 paintings by or after Ozias Humphry at the Art UK site 7 works by Humphry from the National Portrait Gallery Profile on Royal Academy of Arts Collections