Meticulously hand painted and lavishly detailed, this exceptionally rare miniature portrait depicts one of the most extravagant of all England’s monarchs, King George IV. Handsome, stylish and charming, George distanced himself from his more conservative royal parents at an early age, surrounding himself with a glittering social circle. The leader of English high society is perfectly depicted here down to the most minute detail, from his lavish fur-lined red velvet cape to the elaborate ormolu frame that surrounds him. Bedecked in the star and ribbon of the Order of the Garter, as well as the stars of the Orders of the Bath, Thistle and St. Patrick, the artist, the famed William Essex, bedecks his subject with all of the adornments his position in society afforded him.
Essex, remembered today as the leading mid-nineteenth century enamellist, earned frequent commissions from the courts for his exceptional miniature portraits, and was eventually appointed enamel-painter to Princess Augusta of Cambridge and later Queen Victoria. Upon examination of this incredible portrait, Essex’s immense talent for detail and composition is immediately evident. From the king’s regal expression, to the meticulous rendering of his costume and medals, every element serves as a testament to the importance of this work’s royal subject. Today, Essex’s works can also be found in the prestigious collections of the Royal Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.
This extraordinary work is based upon a slightly smaller portrait by the famed enamellist Henry Bone from 1816, which, in turn, was derived from Sir Thomas Lawrence's drawing in profile of the young King.
Inscribed and dated “HRH the Prince-Regent. / Painted from an Enamel by H. Bone Esq. R.A. / W. Essex 1826” (on reverse)
4 3/4” high x 4” wide
The Twinight Collection