King George III

Allan Ramsay (Scottish, 1713-1784)

Currently on View in C202
Image Licensing

For nearly two decades, Ramsay and his studio assistants churned out dozens of portraits of King Geroge III (1738-1820) and his wife, Queen Charlotte (1744-1818), in their coronation robes following Ramsay's appointment in 1761 as "one of His Majesty's Principal Painters in Ordinary." While some of the replicas were ordered for royal residences, many others were ordered for public and private buildings in Britain and its colonies. Indeed, a visitor to Ramsay's studio in Soho Square, London, commented, "I have seen his show-room crowded with portraits of His Majesty in every stage of their operation. The ardour with which these beloved objects were sought for by distant corporations and transmarine colonies was astonishing; the painter will all the assitance he could procure could by no means satisfy the diurnal demands that were made in Soho Square upon his talents and industry."

This painting and its pendant portrait of the queen (66.21A) were once owned by Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942), a great-grandson of Queen Victoria (1819-1901). It is believed that both had been purchased by King George III, who then gave them to his son, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathern (1760-1820), who was Victoria's father.

By descent within the British royal family to Prince George, Duke of Kent [1902-1942];{1} to his widow, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent [1906-1968] in 1942; (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, England) in 1965 or 1966;{2} purchased by the John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana, now the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, in 1966 with pendant, Portrait of Queen Charlotte Sophia (66.21A).

{1} The exhibition catalog by Donald Blake Webster, Georgian Canada: Conflict and Culture, 1745-1820, Royal Ontario Museum, 1984, p. 86, cat. nos. 62, 63, states that "this pair of portraits was probably purchased from Ramsay by the king [and] were given to his fourth son, Edward Augustus, Duke of Kent and Strathearn."
{2} Letter from Evelyn Joll of Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, to Mrs. G.H.A. Clowes, Indianapolis, dated 14 July 1966, copy in IMA Historical File (66.21A and B). The portraits were first offered to Mrs. Clowes, who forwarded the information to Carl Weinhardt, then director of the Herron Museum of Art.

Object Information

Allan Ramsay (Scottish, 1713-1784)
creation date
probably 1762-1766
oil on canvas
98-1/2 x 64-1/8 in.
112-3/4 x 78-1/2 in. (frame without crown)
accession number
credit line
James E. Roberts Fund
Public Domain
European Painting and Sculpture Before 1800

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