This is one of number of similar portraits of King George II, which were painted by John Shackleton, Principle Painter to the King, and the artists in his studio. In 1758, Shackleton presented a similar painting to the Foundling Hospital in London (now the Foundling Museum). Another version was commissioned by the British Museum in the following year and there are two examples in the Royal Collection.
John Shackleton settled in London in 1742. He was primarily a portrait painter and may have been a pupil of the portraitist and writer Jonathan Richardson the elder. In 1749, he succeeded William Kent as Principal Painter in Ordinary to King George II. However, although the subsequent king, George III, kept Shackleton in office, his official royal portraits were painted by Allan Ramsay. Shackleton was part of the committee who first proposed the founding of a Royal Academy of Art in London. He died in London in March 1767 and his will reveals the impressive collection of works of art that he assembled during his life, including pieces by Anthony van Dyck and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.
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