King George IV (1762-1830) Regent 1811-20, Reigned 1820-30 as Prince of Wales
Mezzotintpublished 5 May 1789
- About the work
About the artist
Printmaker and publisher John Raphael Smith is best known for his mezzotints. He was born in Derby and apprenticed to a linen draper. He began his artistic career painting miniatures and engraved his first mezzotint in 1769. In 1784 he became Mezzotint Engraver to the Prince of Wales. Smith produced thousands of prints during his career, which he distributed throughout the UK and to St Petersburg, Milan and Paris. However, after the French Revolution caused a decline in exports, he opened the Morland Gallery in King Street, Covent Garden, initially producing 36 prints after works by George Morland. Smith spent his final years travelling throughout Yorkshire, in response to commissions for pastel portraits. He died in Doncaster, aged c.61.
One of the founders of the 18th-century British landscape school, Thomas Gainsborough was also the creator of the so-called ‘fancy picture’, depicting rustic figures - usually children - posed in rural settings. Born in Suffolk, he studied in London from about 1739 to 1748 under the French painter and engraver Hubert Gravelot and the British painter Francis Hayman at the St Martin’s Lane Academy. Gainsborough returned to Suffolk in 1748, where he worked as a landscape and portrait painter until 1759, before moving to Bath. There he quickly developed into a much sought-after society painter. In 1774, he moved to London where he exhibited his work in his studio. He died in London in 1788.