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House of Windsor

King George V, King of the United Kingdom (1865-1936)

George V was the second son of King Edward VII; his elder brother, the Duke of Clarence, died in 1892. He became Duke of York from 1892 to 1901 and then Prince of Wales from 1901 to 1910. In 1893 married Princess Victoria Mary (May) of Teck; their children included King Edward VIII and King George VI.

Direct commissions from George V were relatively rare, and restricted to portraits such as the official works by Samuel Luke Fildes. One of the most famous portraits of the royal family, during George V's reign, was commissioned by the publisher, W. H. Spottiswoode from Sir John Lavery. The work was exhibited at the Royal Academy and presented to the National Portrait Gallery in 1913. The artist Frank O Salisbury also painted royal ceremonies at which George V and Queen Alexandra presided. These were a visual record of important events in the royal calendar and their lives, such as the Silver Jubilee  and services for The Passing of the Unknown Warrior. In 1911, George V and Queen Mary attended the Delhi Durbar and toured India - the only Emperor and Empress of India to do so.

Another notable commission was the sculpted monument to Queen Alexandra, George's mother, by Alfred Gilbert, unveiled in 1932 opposite St James's Palace. This, and the knighthood given to Gilbert were to honour the memory of George V's parents, who had been great patrons and supporters of Gilbert.

George's purchases and gifts showed an interest in royal history and view painting, such as portrait works of royal forebears on snuff boxes or watercolour landscapes of royal palaces. Most notably of all he was interested in stamp collecting and amassed one of the greatest collections in private hands. This is now the Royal Philatelic Collection.

Reigned: 1910–36


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Objects associated with King George V, King of the United Kingdom (1865-1936)