Friday, March 27, 2020

George IV: Art and Spectacle

Coronation of George IV
George IV
Maria Fitzherbert
From The Royal Collection Trust:
Both in his role as Prince of Wales and, from 1820, magnificent king, George IV purchased paintings, metalwork, textiles, furniture, watercolours, books and ceramics in vast numbers, many of these works by the finest artists of the day. Through the spectacular interiors of his houses and palaces in London and Brighton, numerous flattering portraits, carefully choreographed state occasions and consciously ostentatious fashion choices, George IV attempted to shape public perception of his role as heir to the throne and as king. To celebrate next year as the 200th anniversary of George IV's accession to the throne, this beautifully illustrated monograph examines the man behind the crown through his unrivalled art collection. (Read more.)

From Royal Central:
Her king called her his ”wife of heart and soul” even though their actual, secret union was declared invalid. Now the woman who cast a shadow over the reign of George IV and even the succession to his throne has returned to Buckingham Palace. A portrait of Maria Fitzherbert, who wed the future George IV after they fell hopelessly in love, is now displayed at the Queen’s home as part of an exhibition about the king. The pencil drawing of Maria was commissioned by George in 1789 and features in George IV: Art and Spectacle which is open at Buckingham Palace until the beginning of May.

Maria and George met in 1784 and went through a marriage ceremony on December 15th 1785. Both knew it would be illegal under British law. George, who was then Prince of Wales, had to obtain the permission of his father, King George III, to get married and hadn’t even asked as he knew the answer would be no.

Maria was far from an ideal royal bride. For a start, she had no blue blood of her own and she had already been married twice by the time she fell in love with George. She was also a Catholic so even if George III had been swayed by the young couple’s romance, their wedding would have meant his son and heir giving up his rights to the throne. (Read more.)

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