Painted at the age of 21, in the year of her death, Princess Charlotte (daughter of George IV) is shown seated on a mustard-coloured sofa. She wears a deep blue dress edged in gold braiding over a lace chemise. Her wedding rings are seen here on her right hand, perhaps indicating that the image has been reversed from the original version of the painting. As well as two brooches, Charlotte wears the Star of St Catherine of Russia on her left breast. Her dress, Russian-style fancy dress, was presented to the Museum of London by George V in 1927. The portfolio under her arm probably refers to her accomplishments as an amateur etcher.
This portrait is a copy after a work by the artist George Dawe. Several copies and versions of Dawe’s portrait exist. A work of the same dimensions but showing the image in reverse, now in the National Portrait Gallery, may be the original portrait. The Royal Collection holds two versions, including a smaller (70 x 45cm) full-length version, which is signed by the artist and dated 1817.
George Dawe was born in London; the son of the mezzotint engraver Philip Dawe. After training under his father, he studied painting at the Royal Academy Schools. In 1814 he was elected a full Academician. He also exhibited at the British Institution. He was employed as a court painter and travelled on the continent as one of the entourage of Edward, Duke of Kent, visiting Paris, Cambrai (northern France), Brussels and Aix-la-Chapelle (Germany). Alexander I of Russia invited him to relocate to Russia, where he painted some 400 portraits of chiefs of the Russian army. However, he did not live to enjoy his success, dying unmarried at 48, just six weeks after his return to England in 1829. He was interred, with honours, at St Paul’s Cathedral.
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