King George III is seen on a white horse in the centre of this composition, lifting his hat. The other sitters (from left to right) are the Duke of Cumberland, the Prince of Wales, Charles Stanhope, third Earl of Harrington, the Duke of York, the Duke of Kent and Colonel Havilland Le Mesurier. Beyond them, the volunteer troops are lined up for inspection.
It is not known whether the artist Robert Ker Porter ever exhibited the original painting of ‘King George III Inspecting the Volunteers’. However, it would have been widely-known through this print, engraved by Samuel William Reynolds and published in 1800. The original painting by Porter may be the painted version in the Government Art Collection (GAC 13337). However, there are minor differences between the GAC painting and the engraving and these differences, along with the fact that the painting is monochrome, may indicate that the GAC painting was in fact made in preparation for a larger work, which is now untraced.
Robert Ker Porter was born in Durham. He entered the Royal Academy Schools at 13. In 1793 he was commissioned to paint an altarpiece for Shoreditch church, followed by further biblical works. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1792 to 1805 and produced enormous battle panorama, including the 120 foot long ‘Storming of Seringapatam’ (1800). In 1805 he travelled to Russia to paint historical murals for the Admiralty in St. Petersburg. After leaving Russia in 1813, he was knighted by the Prince Regent. He began a period of travel in 1817, which led to the publication ‘Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia, Ancient Babylonia’ (1821). In 1825, he was appointed British Consul in Venezuela. He returned to England in 1841, where he died aged 65.
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