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The Exhibition

George IV (1762–1830) had a lifelong fascination with art and architecture and formed one of the greatest collections of paintings and decorative arts in Europe.

The eldest child of George III and Queen Charlotte, George was clever and wilful, and railed against his parents’ authority. As a young man he became known for his mistresses, drinking and his dandyish clothes. Satirists issued prints which criticised his lifestyle, and his exploits were recounted with horror in newspapers. In 1811, when his father became unable to rule through mental illness, George was appointed Prince Regent. He became King on his father’s death in 1820. He was an unpopular monarch, whose lavish lifestyle was out of touch with a country suffering from economic hardship and political turmoil.

George’s collection of art furnished his residences, which themselves were masterpieces designed by leading architects. His carefully choreographed spectacles displayed the magnificence of monarchy, chief among them his coronation. George’s purchases remain some of the greatest works in the Royal Collection. His architectural vision created the palaces in London and Windsor still used today.

A portrait of George IV by Sir Thomas Lawrence
George IV

There were many images of George created throughout his life

Cosway painted several miniatures of the Duchess of Devonshire from the time of her marriage in 1774 onwards. This miniature relates closely to a miniature at Althorp which has the same head but a slightly less fanciful dress. Georgiana, who was the daugh
Family and friends

George formed a large collection of portraits of those closest to him

Master: Bookcase
Private pursuits

George's collections allow us to explore his personal interests

A watercolour of an officer of the Russian Imperial Guard, shown mounted, riding to left, followed by three other figures. This is one of a large number of illustrations of military uniform acquired by George IV. Many of these drawings were by D
Napoleonic Wars

George became the figurehead of opposition to Napoleon

Portico of Corinthian columns in front of the main house, with frieze and ornamental carving. Now part of the side porticoes at the National Gallery. The portico was a porte-cochiere, so carriages could drive through to the door.Published in Pyne's Royal
Carlton House

George's home for 40 years saw a sequence of colourful interiors, filled with masterpieces

Views of Carlton House

The appearance of the building was recorded in a series of watercolour views made shortly before its demolition

Brighton Pavilion, Windsor Castle & Buckingham Palace

George's other major architectural projects

A watercolour view of the armoury at Carlton House, with the figures of what are presumably visitors in the background.
The large Armoury at Carlton House, the Prince Regent's London residence, was considered, according to contemporary reports,
The armoury

George IV’s collection of arms, armour and other militaria at Carlton House was renowned

In this miniature by Henry Bone the Prince Regent  is wearing field marshal’s uniform, miniature ribbons, the Order of the Golden Fleece and the stars of the Orders of the Garter, Holy Spirit, Black Eagle and St Andrew. It is one of many copies
Ceremonies of George IV's court

George shone when he appeared at state occasions


George used lavish acquisitions to support his public image

Waterloo Chamber
The Waterloo Chamber portraits

Sir Thomas Lawrence was commissioned to document the victors of the Battle of Waterloo

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.