In 1889 ‘The Manchester Quarterly’ included a chapter on the artist Henry Bunbury, which describes this print as follows:
‘This is the most charming engraving after Bunbury - indeed, it is one of the choicest of the stipple engravings of the last century. There are about twenty figures, which are presumably portraits of notabilities of that day. George, Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), is in the centre of the picture, with a beautiful lady on each arm. The lady on his right is Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and the lady on his left is the Duchess of Rutland.’
Political hostess Georgiana Cavendish (née Spencer), Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806) was a close friend of the young Prince of Wales. There were rumours of an affair between the two, which Georgiana always denied. The Prince (later King George IV) took possession of Carlton House in 1783. He made a numerous alterations, transforming it into Carlton House Palace. He was notorious for his flamboyance and regularly held extravagant parties at the palace. This scene depicts a fête held in the gardens of Carlton House in 1784, possibly the ball held on 28 May for which a series of marquees were erected.
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