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The Queen Returning from the House of Lords

Matthew Dubourg

Coloured aquatint

1 October 1821
  • About the work
    Location
    Country: Tunisia
    City: Tunis
    Place: British Embassy
    An enthusiastic crowd aligned outside the Houses of Parliament, expresses its support for Queen Caroline of Brunswick as she returns from the House of Lords in an open top carriage drawn by six horses. Men, dressed in blue tailcoats wave their top hats in the air, while women  in high-waist classically-inspired dresses observe the highly-animated scene. 

    This print is part of a series which illustrated Robert Bowyer’s publication  ‘An Impartial historical narrative of those momentous events which have taken place in this country during the period from the Year 1816 to 1823’. It recounted the arranged marriage between King George IV and Princess Caroline, which led to a disastrous outcome. 

    Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel married her cousin, George, Prince of Wales, on 8 April 1795. The couple had a stormy marriage and Caroline became increasingly unhappy. In 1796, the year their daughter Princess Charlotte was born, they separated and Caroline rented a house in Blackheath. Following their separation, the Prince wrote to her: 'Our inclinations are not in our power; nor should either of us be held answerable to the other, because nature has not made us suitable to each other'. At her new residence in Blackheath, Caroline entertained frequently and is reported to have had several affairs. She later travelled to the Mediterranean, followed by spies sent by her estranged husband who was eager to divorce. When George III died in 1820, Caroline returned to England to claim her position as Queen Consort. However, the new King had a ‘bill of pains and penalties’ prepared in an attempt to divorce by Act of Parliament. Queen Caroline received immense public support throughout what became known as her ‘trial’, as illustrated in this print. Despite Caroline’s liaisons, knowledge of the King’s infidelity meant he was viewed as hypocritical and the outcome of the proceedings was in her favour. Despite this, the Queen was denied her position at the coronation ceremony. She was taken ill just two weeks after her husband was crowned and died on 7 August 1821. 
  • About the artist
    Matthew Dubourg was a London-based aquatint engraver of sporting, military and topographical views, made after works by contemporary artists. He often collaborated with the draughtsman and aquatint engraver John Clark. Dubourg exhibited two miniature portraits at the Royal Academy in 1786 and 1797, when his address was 17 Duke Street, off Manchester Square. He later exhibited a ‘Scene near Vauxhall’ at the Academy in 1808, by which time he had moved to 22 East Street, Lambeth.
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  • Details
    Title
    The Queen Returning from the House of Lords
    Date
    1 October 1821
    Medium
    Coloured aquatint
    Acquisition
    Purchased from Vicars Bros., 1942
    GAC number
    0/213