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Augusta, Princess of Wales (1719-72)

Augusta was the daughter of Frederick II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg and Magdalena Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst. She married Frederick, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of George II who died in 1757 before becoming King.

Augusta's role as collector or patron is perhaps most notable in portraiture. She commissioned the Swiss painter, Liotard, to make fresh and direct pastel portraits of herself and her children, and she may also have commissioned Knapton to paint a group portrait of the family as a memorial to her husband. In addition to these commissions she collected portraits of the wider family by Francis Cotes and Angelica Kauffmann.

Augusta's role was not just that of perpetuating her husband's memory. She took responsibility for the education of her eldest son, the future George III, engaging the services of John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute, as his governor. Bute's tuition and guidance became invaluable to the future George III and he was also instrumental in educating George in the arts. Augusta also fostered the interest of her eldest son in architecture with tuition by William Chambers.

Both Bute and Chambers worked for Augusta at Kew, in creating a botanical garden and building garden temples respectively. Augusta extended and enhanced the landscaping, building and planting begun by her husband at Kew, and also commissioned paintings of the landscape there by the Swiss artist Johan Jacob Schalch.


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