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Bust of George IV

1830

Made by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, English, 1797–1843 English After Sir Francis Chantrey, English, 1781–1842 English


Dimensions

Overall: 49.5 cm (19 1/2 in.) Other (Dimensions at base): 29.8 x 26 cm (11 3/4 x 10 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

2005.93.1-2

Medium or Technique

Gilt-bronze, mounted with enamel, gold, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies

On View

Susan Morse Hilles Gallery (Gallery 152)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Metalwork

This jeweled bust of King George IV portrays him in the classical pose and tunic of Imperial Rome’s emperors. Elaborate jewelry adorning the king—a diamond-studded tunic with ruby neckline and an emerald fibula and pendant—testifies to the opulence of his reign. The bust was made by the London jewelry firm Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell, which served Britain’s royalty and the nobility, and was based on a marble bust by Sir Francis Leggatt Chantrey. The royal family presented this bust to Sir Henry Halford, physician to George III, George IV, William IV, and the young future Queen Victoria.

The bust sits on a hexagonal plinth decorated in the Gothic style with an enameled coat of arms from the House of Hanover. A gold medallion mounted on the back commemorates George IV’s coronation on July 19, 1821.

Inscription

Inscribed: "TO SIR HENRY HALFORD BART/ THIS BUST OF HIS LATE MAJESTY KING GEORGE IV/ IS PRESENTED/ BY THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESSES THE DUKES OF CUMBERLAND AND CAMBRIDGE/ THE PRINCESSES AUGUSTA THE LANDGRAVINE OF HESSE HOMBURG/ THE DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER AND THE PRINCESS SOPHIA/ AS A TOKEN OF THEIR ESTEEM AND REGARD/ AND IN TESTIMONY OF THE HIGH SENSE THEY ENTERTAIN OF HIS PROFESSIONAL ABILITY/ AND UNWEARIED ATTENTION DURING THE ILLNESS OF THEIR LATE BELOVED SISTER/ THE PRINCESS AMELIA OF HER LATE MAJESTY QUEEN CHARLOTTE, AND HIS LATE/ MAJESTY KING GEORGE III HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE LATE DUKE OF YORK/ AND LASTLY OF HIS LATE MAJESTY KING GEORGE IV/ MDCCCXXX" and with royal monograms, engraved on the plinth.

Provenance

1830, Henry Halford (b. 1766 - d. 1844), 1st Bt. Halford (original commission) [see note 1]. By 2001, H. Blairman and Sons, London; 2005, sold by Blairman to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 23, 2005) NOTES: [1] In 1830 this bust was presented to Halford, physician extraordinary to George III and physician to George IV, William IV, and Queen Victoria. See H. Blairman and Sons, "Furniture and Works of Art" (London, 2001), cat. no. 3.

Credit Line

William Francis Warden Fund and Gift of Martin Levy in honor of Horace Wood Brock