This state portrait of 'King George V' after Luke Fildes (1843-1927) is one of many copies, made for British Embassy’s and legations, of the original work in the Royal Collection. Fildes, the son of a Manchester shipping agent, had already painted state portraits of the parents of George V, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, and so seemed the natural choice when George acceded to the throne in 1910.
Sir Samuel Luke Fildes, commonly known as Luke Fildes, wasas an illustrator before turning to portrait painting. He was commissioned by the novelist Charles Dickens to illustrate his last novel ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’, published in 1870. In 1874 Fildes’ large painting of ‘Applicants for Admission to a Casual Ward’, showing the destitute queuing in hope of a night of shelter, brought him overnight fame, when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy, accompanied by a quote from Dickens. Fildes continued to paint social realist subjects, but it was as a portrait painter that he found fame and fortune. His painting of the Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra) of 1894 led to a series of royal commissions.
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