This lecture was held at the STRATFORD HOTEL:
Thursday 17 May 2018
King George III: Patron of the arts, art collector, friend of America and family man
Speaker: Oliver Everett
Oliver Everett treated members of STRADFAS to an, at times, hilarious but very informative lecture about George III. He argued that George III has been unjustly remembered as having been mad and losing the American colonies. He did, in his last years, suffer from a blood disorder called porphyria but for most of his life he was a discerning art collector as well as a patron of the arts, an architect, a family man and a friend of America.
George III was greatly influenced by Lord Bute who became his advisor and tutor when he was only 12. George was crowned king at 22 and The Coronation Portrait by Sir Alan Ramsey was the first family painting we were shown to be part of The Royal Collection which George III commissioned. He also had many beautiful paintings of his wife displayed. He was responsible for the construction of the Golden Coach which is used for the coronation. It has stunning paintings on the side of it by Giovanni Cipriani. He bought Buckingham House which later became The Palace and employed William Chambers and Robert Adam to decorate rooms such as The Saloon.
He adorned the walls of the building with paintings by, among others, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Zoffany, Gainsborough and Rubens.In 1767 Samuel Johnson met George III in the library where George had amassed thousands of books and concluded he was well read and intelligent!
He was the first patron of The Royal Academy of Art and supported Benjamin West; a history painter from the colonies, so much that West became the second president of the R.A. It was not George III who caused our final break with America as the Prime Minister, Lord North, did that. George wrote an essay after the battle of Yorktown about the loss of the American colonies and observed that they had cost Great Britain a lot to maintain but as independence was granted we could engage in trade with them.