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Anonymous, 19th century

Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1771-1815) c. 1848-76

Oil on canvas | 130.6 x 103.0 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 405143

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Portrait of the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, half-length, standing, facing slightly to the left, with his head turned three-quarters to the left; wearing the black uniform of General Officer of the Prussian Army. He holds his hat in his left hand, with his elbow resting on a cannon; in his right hand he holds a sword; battle smoke beyond. Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1775-1815), the brother of Caroline Queen Consort of George IV, led the volunteer corps of the Black Brunswickers against the Napoleonic domination of Germany. He joined the Prussian army in 1789 as a captain and fought in battles against Revolutionary France. At the outbreak of the War of the Fifth Coalition in 1809, he was moved to create a corps of partisans with support from the Austrian Empire; the Black Brunswickers were so-called because they wore black uniforms in mourning for their occupied country. After briefly taking back control of Braunschweig he fled to England and joined forces with his brother-in-law, the Prince Regent. Frederick William returned to Braunschweig in December 1813, after Prussia had ended French domination in Braunschweig-Lüneburg. When Napoleon returned from exile to the political stage in 1815, Frederick William raised fresh troops. He was killed by a gunshot at the Battle of Quatre Bras, fought on 16 June 1815 between Wellington's Anglo-Dutch army and the Armée du Nord under Marshal Ney. Formerly a full-length portrait, cut down; connected with William Corden's portrait dated 1848; RCIN 404134