King George III (1738-1820, Reigned 1760-1820) on his Favourite Charger Adonis
Mezzotintpublished 1 February 1804
- About the work
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.
William Hopkins was a portrait painter, copyist and perhaps a pupil of Sir William Beechey, copies of whose portraits he made. Hopkins's career has sunk into obscurity, but he appears to have been commissioned to paint the portraits of a number of people in the royal household. He exhibited 13 works at the Royal Academy between 1803 and 1811, during which time his address is given as Windsor Castle. Several of his sitters apparently lived in and around Windsor.
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.