King George V (1865-1936) Reigned 1910-36
Oil on canvas1912-1935
About the work
Place: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, Whitehall
Fildes painted the coronation portraits of King Edward VII (1902) and Queen Alexandra (1905) and a portrait of George, Prince of Wales (later George V) in 1892 to commemorate the Prince’s engagement to Princess Mary of Teck. Following the death of Edward VII, George, Prince of Wales became King George V and Fildes was invited to paint a state portrait of the new king in 1912. The painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy the same year and, as soon as the Academy exhibition closed, was dispatched to another artist’s studio to be copied. The event was reported in the 'Litchfield Mercury' on 19 July:
‘…replicas are to be prepared of the State portrait of his present Majesty, which was painted by [Luke Fildes] ... These portraits are destined for some of the Courts of Europe, and are also to be sent to certain diplomatic and Government buildings abroad. …The [original] Coronation picture, it is understood, will be retained at Buckingham Palace…’
This is one of many versions of this royal portrait, painted by a group of copyists. They were commissioned by the Lord Chamberlain’s Department for display in British embassies and legations across the world. The original work remains in the Royal Collection.
About the artist
Portraitist Frederick Howard Michael was born in Halifax in Yorkshire; the son of a Baptist Minister. By the time of the 1881 census records he was 16 years old, living with his family in Halifax, and studying as an ‘art pupil’. He later moved to Stamford Bridge Studios, Fulham, where he lived and worked from at least 1891 to 1899. Michael exhibited twelve works at the Royal Academy and one the Royal Society of British Artists in London from 1892 to 1929. In 1901, aged 35, he was living with antique dealer Douglas Falcke and his family in Chelsea. That year, he exhibited a portrait of Mrs Douglas Falcke at the Academy. Michael had moved to Kensington by the time of his death on in 1936. His property passed to his younger sister, Ethilda.
Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, commonly known as Luke Fildes, wasas an illustrator before turning to portrait painting. He was commissioned by the novelist Charles Dickens to illustrate his last novel ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’, published in 1870. In 1874 Fildes’ large painting of ‘Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward’, showing the destitute queuing in hope of a night of shelter, brought him overnight fame, when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy, accompanied by a quote from Dickens. Fildes continued to paint social realist subjects, but it was as a portrait painter that he found fame and fortune. His painting of the Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) of 1894 led to a series of royal commissions.
- George V
- royal portrait, beard, moustache, man, ceremonial costume, ermine, robe, military uniform, riband, tassel, ribbon (as Subject - costume accessory), livery collar, crown, Order of the Star of India, Royal Victorian Order, Order of St. Patrick, Order of St. Michael & St. George, Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, King, admiral, sword, curtain, cushion
- King George V (1865-1936) Reigned 1910-36
- Oil on canvas
- height: 187.00 cm, width: 122.00 cm
- verso of canvas: F. H. Michael / after / The State Portrait / of / His Majesty King George / by Sir Luke Fildes
- Commissioned by the Lord Chamberlain’s Department in 1912; dispatched to a UK diplomatic mission building by the Office of Works in c.1912-14; accessioned by the Ministry of Works in 1946-48
- GAC number