King William IV (1765-1837) Reigned 1830-7
About the work
This three-quarter length portrait after Sir William Beechey shows King William IV turned to the left, holding a letter in his right hand. He is wearing a dark blue buttoned coat and his decorations.William IV was King of Hanover and of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 26 June 1830 until 1837. He succeeded his brother George IV on the throne and was the penultimate monarch of the House of Hanover. During his reign, he made several reforms including the updating of the poor law and the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire. He was married to Adelaide of Saxe–Meiningen but had no surviving legitimate children. He was, however, survived by eight of the ten illegitimate children he had by actress Dorothea Bland. William IV was succeded in the United Kingdom by his niece, Victoria, and in Hanover by his brother, Ernest Augustus.
About the artist
Sir William Beechey was born in Burford, Oxfordshire. After his father’s death (1789) he was raised by his uncle and initially apprenticed to a firm of solicitors. In 1772 he moved to London to enter the Royal Academy Schools. He soon married and his children include painter and explorer Henry William. From c.1782 he worked in Norwich, returning to London in 1787. Beechey was a widow by 1793, when he married miniature painter Anne Phyllis Jessop. In 1794 he became a member of the Royal Academy, received a knighthood and exhibited ‘His Majesty Reviewing the Third Dragoon Guards’, his most celebrated work. He was named portrait painter to the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Principle Portrait Painter to William IV before his death aged 85.
Sir William, (after) Beechey
- King William IV (1765-1837) Reigned 1830-7
- Oil on canvas
- height: 87.50 cm, width: 70.00 cm
- Presented by Sir Ronald Graham, 1933
- Presented to the Embassy, Rome, by Sir Ronald Graham on retiring from Rome as Ambassador 1933
- GAC number