King George III (1738-1820, Reigned 1760-1820) Reviewing the Third or Prince of Wales’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards & the Tenth or Prince of Wales’s Regiment of Light Dragoons
Engraving and mezzotintpublished 1 June 1799
About the work
The Prince of Wales, on horseback, raises a sabre in his right hand. Beside him King George III is mounted on a white stallion, wearing military uniform and a cocked hat. The King gestures towards the lines of cavalry riding past to left and looks towards the Duke of York and Generals Fawcett and Dundas, on horseback behind him. Major Goldsworthy, equerry (an assistant) to the Prince of Wales, is dismounted in the foreground.
After showing George III a sketch of the King reviewing the household troops in Hyde Park, William Beechey was commissioned to paint a large-scale oil painting of the scene. The King commanded that the painting (which measured 14 x 17 feet) was to be exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798. Beechey worked feverishly to finish it in time and negotiated an extension to the deadline for submission. Sadly, the work was destroyed when fire spread through Windsor Castle in November 1992.
About the artist
Printmaker and painter James Ward was born in London; the son of a fruit merchant. He did not attend school but was apprenticed to engraver John Raphael Smith from twelve. After the apprenticeship was terminated, he studied under his brother, printmaker William. He later concentrated on painting, in which he was largely self-taught. In 1794 Ward became Painter and Engraver in Mezzotint to the Prince of Wales. In 1800 the Board of Agriculture commissioned him to produce some 200 paintings of livestock. Although the commission fell through after c.100 pictures, it led to similar private commissions. Ward was elected a Royal Academician in 1811. He received an annual pension of £100 from the Academy before his death in Hertfordshire, aged 90.
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.
- King George III (1738-1820, Reigned 1760-1820) Reviewing the Third or Prince of Wales’s Regiment of Dragoon Guards & the Tenth or Prince of Wales’s Regiment of Light Dragoons
- published 1 June 1799
- Engraving and mezzotint
- height: 57.00 cm, width: 65.50 cm
- Purchased from Colnaghi, April 1952
- Liechenstein Collection; with Colnaghi, London; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in April 1952
- GAC number