This is one of several coronation portraits of George II, painted in the studio of artist Charles Jervas soon after the accession, as one half of a pair of portraits of the new King and Queen. Another version is at the Guildhall, London. Engraver and antiquary George Vertue noted that ‘The King sat to Mr Jervaise [sic] for a picture for the Guildhall’ in 1728. Unusually, no versions of this pair of royal portraits are held in the Royal Collection. This may be explained by a further note from Vertue: ‘Mr Jervase [sic] his Majestys painter has had no success in painting their Majesties pictures & from thence he lost much favour and Interest at Court’.
Charles Jervas, portrait painter, was born in Dublin. He moved to London in the mid 1690s, where he studied under Sir Godfrey Kneller. In 1698, he travelled to Paris to study in the Louvre and then on to Rome, where he copied antique statuary and paintings by the Italian Masters. He also purchased art on behalf of English collectors. Jervas returned to London in 1709 and established a successful career painting portraits. In 1723 he succeeded Kneller as Principal Painter to King George I and later to George II. Jervas had literary ambitions and published translations of ‘Novella di Belfagor’ by Machiavelli in 1719 and Cervantes’ ‘Don Quixote’ in 1742.
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