Nathaniel Dance

Portrait of George III

Portrait of George III
(click image to zoom-in)
Author: Nathaniel Dance
Portraiture, Painting, Oil on canvas, 241x148.5 cm
Origin: Britain, 1773

King George III of England is here seen in a typical example of an official portrait intended as a diplomatic gift. Although Nathaniel Dance was a very professional painter, his works are not noted for originality and the greatest interest in this painting lies in the story of how it reached Russia. Through the British ambassador in Russia, Lord Cathcart, Dance was commissioned to paint paired portraits of King George and his wife Sophia-Charlotte . Both portraits would seem to have then been presented by George III to Catherine the Great, who intended them for the Chesme Palace, her favourite resting place on the road from St Petersburg to her beloved summer residence at Tsarskoe Selo. This palace was built in the style of a Gothic castle and housed a portrait gallery of all the crowned heads of Europe and members of their family. Catherine asserted her right to belong to this gathering, although she came to power in 1762 as the result of a coup d'etat in which her husband, Peter II, was overthrown, and she sought to use every means at her disposal, including art, to emphasise the legitimacy of her rule.

Source of entry: English Palace, Peterhof, 1931

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