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RA GEO/MAIN/26324, 27083 and 26397

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Three bills for works of art purchased by George IV, 1780s – 1820s

RA GEO/MAIN/26324, 27083 and 26397 (view the documents)

The Royal Archives holds a large number of bills for purchases made by George IV, evidence of his wide collecting interests and extravagant tastes. Many of the items he acquired still form part of the Royal Collection.

Nicholas Sprimont (1713-1771), The Neptune Centrepiece, RCIN 50282 ©

Sèvres porcelain factory, The Louis XVI Service, 1783-92, RCIN 58027 ©

The first bill dates from 1827 and is from the London goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. It lists several very expensive items of metalware – the first item on the list, a stand for the Neptune table centrepiece, shown here, made for the King’s grandfather, Frederick, Prince of Wales, cost almost £400 (about £30,000 at today's prices).

The 1810 bill is from the art dealer Robert Fogg and includes pieces of Sèvres porcelain from a service originally commissioned by Louis XVI of France for Versailles, a selection of which are displayed here.

The final bill shown here is from the painter Sir Thomas Lawrence, and includes the series of portraits of key figures responsible for defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. These portraits can still be seen in their original setting in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle.