George Canning (1770-1827) Prime Minister

  • About the work

    This copy after a portrait by Thomas Lawrence shows former Prime Minister George Canning standing before empty benches in the House of Commons. The Foreign Office Dispatch Box on the Front Bench denotes his current status as Foreign Secretary. George Canning held various appointments under Pitt’s administration, including Foreign Secretary (1807-09 and 1822-27) and Prime Minister for four months in 1827, the last year of his life.

    Lawrence's original portrait was commissioned by George IV in 1825 and remains in the Royal Collection. However, this is a copy by Moussa Ayoub of a version formerly in the collection of the Earl of Harewood. Another copy by Ayoub was in the collection of Viscount Allendale.

  • About the artist
    Sir Thomas Lawrence was born in Bristol; the son of a supervisor of excise. In 1773 the family moved to Wiltshire to run a coaching inn but financial difficulties led them to move again to Bath, where Lawrence first worked as a portraitist. He may have had lessons from William Hoare, before enrolling at the Royal Academy schools in 1787. Aged 20, he received a royal commission for portraits of Queen Charlotte (1789-90) and Princess Amelia (1789). At 23 he replaced Reynolds as Painter-in-Ordinary and at 25, became a Royal Academician. Despite such success, he never escaped crippling debt. In 1815 he was knighted and commissioned to paint the Waterloo Chamber series of portraits. He replaced West as President of the Royal Academy in 1820.

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  • Details
    George Canning (1770-1827) Prime Minister
    Oil on canvas
    height: 235.00 cm, width: 146.00 cm
    Presented by the Earl of Harewood, 1934
    on verso of canvas in brown oil paint: M. Ayoub; on verso of frame, stencilled in black paint: TOP
    Collection of the Earl of Harewood; by whom presented to the Office of Works in 1934, for display in the Foreign Office
    GAC number