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and studio Allan Ramsay, George III

Core Record

Title George III
Collection Oxford Portraits: University of Oxford
Artist and studio Allan Ramsay
Date 1762-1765
Acquisition gift from George Henry Lee, third Earl of Lichfield, 1765
Description Whole length, standing facing viewer on a dais covered with a red and blue oriental carpet, head turned to left; grey eyes, smooth complexion; powdered hair en queue with blue velvet ornamental bag; lace cravat; in coronation robes: gold damask coat and breeches; white silk stockings, white shoes with gold buckles and red heels; grey/blue velvet mantle lined with ermine and edged with gold, over surcoat lined and edged with ermine, and belted with silver belt which holds sword; collar, George and Garter of the Order of the Garter; his right hand on hip, his left on fold of ermine cloak which lies on table to right, on which also is the crown, with a blue velvet lining; red curtain background with fluted column encircled with gold rope to left.

The portrait was given to the University by the Chancellor, Lord Lichfield, in 1765: 'Geo. Henricus Comes di Litchfield Honoratissimus Academiae Cancellarius, Xystos Bodleianos Effigiem Regis Geo III. locupletavit' (Registrum Benefactorum, for the year 1765, Library Records b.903, Bodleian Library, II, [p.202]) Under 'Expensa Extraordinaria', the entry in the Vice-Chancellor's accounts: 'Pd for Car. of King's Picture 2 - 2 - 0; Port. 4' (two guineas for carriage and four shillings for porterage), confirms that the portrait was received by the University between 7 Nov 1764 and 7 Nov 1765. (Comptus Vice Can, 1735-1768, Oxford University Archives, WPbeta/22/1)

The portrait is an early, dateable, copy of the state portrait of George III, painted by Ramsay in 1761-2 (the Royal Collection). It is in an ornate frame surmounted by a crown, identical (including width and depth), to that made by René Stone to surround the version by Ramsay and studio in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

The donor of the portrait, the third Earl of Lichfield, matriculated from St John's College in 1736, and was High Steward of the University when he was made Lord of the Bedchamber to George III in 1760, the year of the king's accession. Lord Lichfield was installed as Chancellor of the University in 1762, and donated this portrait of the king in 1865. He is himself the subject of a University portrait (OP 14). Of the two copies attributed to Ramsay of his state portrait of George III at St John's College, one was bequeathed to the College by Diana, Dowager Countess of Lichfield (d.1779), (Lane Poole, III, p.184, no.73). The other (ibid. no.72), is said to have been presented to the college by the king after his visit to Oxford in 1785.

During a visit to Oxford on 18 June 1867, George Scharf, then Keeper of the National Portrait Gallery, saw the portrait in the Bodleian Library Gallery and noted in his sketchbook: 'Geo 3rd in yellow dress. w.l. [whole length] by Allan Ramsay, usual type.' (G. Scharf, 'Trustee Sketchbooks', XI, p.79, National Portrait Gallery Archive, London)
External Link Oxford Portraits website
Id Number Current Accession 17
Measurements 62 x 97 in.
Sitter Biographical Notes George III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and King of Hanover (1738-1820)
Monarch
Artist Biographical Notes and studio Allan Ramsay (1713-1784)
Portrait painter
Donor Biographical Notes George Henry Lee, third Earl of Lichfield (1718-1772)
Benefactor and politician
Relation Exhibition American bicentenary exhibition, Bodleian Library, 1976
Relation References A. Wood, History and Antiquities of the University of Oxford ed. by J. Gutch, 2 vols (1792-1796), II, Part II, p.977; G. Scharf, ’Trustee Sketchbooks’, XI, 18 June 1867, p.78A (National Portrait Gallery Archive, London); G. Scharf, ms annotation in J. Nor
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