King George III (1738-1820) Reigned 1760-1820
Mezzotintpublished 20 May 1772
- About the work
About the artist
Richard Houston was born in Dublin. As a young man he was apprenticed to engraver and publisher John Brooks and studied under Robert West at the Dublin Society Schools. Early in 1746 he moved to London with Brooks and engraver James McArdell, living near Fleet Street before establishing himself in Covent Garden, from where he published prints after contemporary portraits and works by Rembrandt. He also engraved portraits of racehorses for others. In 1758 his engraving of the King of Prussia, after Antoine Pesne, was published by Robert Sayer. From June to August 1765 Houston was an inmate of the Fleet Prison, reportedly for a debt owed to Sayer. Sayer later employed him to engrave further works before his death in London, in his early 50s.
Portrait and history painter Johann Zoffany was born Johannes Zauffaly in Frankfurt-am-Main. After training in Regensburg, he studied in Rome (1750-57), before moving to London in 1760. He was introduced to the royal family in 1764 and George III was so impressed by his royal portraits and groups that he nominated Zoffany a Royal Academician in 1769. Zoffany was in India from 1783 to 1789, where he portrayed British residents and native princes. After his return, he painted few pictures of consequence and by 1800 had given up painting altogether. Several of his Indian works are in the Victoria Memorial, Calcutta. One of his best-known works, ‘The Cock Match at Lucknow’ painted for Warren Hastings, was purchased by the Tate in 1994.