Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of King George II (1683 - 1760) 1750s

Robert Edge Pine 

Portrait of King George II (1683 - 1760), Robert Edge Pine
Oil on Paper
18th Century
18 x 14 inches 45.72 x 35.66 cm
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Pine's portrayal of King George II must be counted as a revolutionary depiction of the sovereign. It cannot be classed as an informal portrait, since the King's costume and the conventional evocation of a palatial interior all allude to the most formal royal portraiture. The King's attitude was suggested by a moment when the artist observed him to turn to address an attendant at the head of a staircase. Despite what has become the orthodoxy, the architecture in this painting cannot be intended to depict the setting of that incident -the King's Stair at Kensington Palace- with any precision, but the spontaneous ''true to life" mood is still present.

It is unclear who commissioned Pine to execute this avant garde image. The final version, for which this and two other small works on paper appear to be studies, remained in the artist's possession until 1784, the year of his departure for America, when it was bought by Sir John Griffin, later Lord Howard de Walden. Pine''s bill for this purchase -preserved in Essex Record Office, cited Manners and Morals Tate 1987 p.238- states that ''It has been universally allowed to be the most like of any in being.''
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