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The Prince of Wales was interested in his self-image. This flattering, athletic portrait was commissioned by him as a prize for a meeting of the Royal Kentish Bowmen. As president of the society, he is dressed in their green uniform. He leans on the pedes

George IV (1762-1830), when Prince of Wales ©

Though the Regency technically covers only nine years (from 1811 to 1820) the word has come to describe the decades around the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This was an era defined by the manners and dress of the Prince Regent and by his extravagant tastes seen in the sumptuous interiors of his residence at Carlton House. As Regent, the Prince was a keen patron of British artists, such as George Stubbs and Francis Chantrey, but he had other eclectic tastes. Records of the paintings at Carlton House show his particular love of finely crafted Dutch and Flemish paintings of the seventeenth century.

The Regent was obsessive in his collecting of French art; he owned some magnificent paintings, such as Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun’s celebrated portrait of Charles-Alexandre de Calonne, but nothing to compare with his unrivalled selection of French porcelain and furniture. Perhaps the Prince’s most idiosyncratic taste was for chinoiserie – a number of apartments in Carlton House were decorated with fantastical oriental figures, and simulated lacquer and bamboo.

The majority of works displayed here were acquired or created for Carlton House; they almost all reflect the Prince’s love of the opulent, the theatrical and the spectacular.


Objects produced by British artists, manufacturers and authors

Genre scenes and Dutch style

Dutch and Flemish paintings


Collection of French art

The wider world

Objects from around the world

Carlton House

The interior and objects of Carlton House