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Enamel portrait plaques of King George III and Queen Charlotte, painted by William Hopkins Craft

Enamel portrait plaques of King George III and Queen Charlotte, painted by William Hopkins Craft, 1773

 

Length: 33.000 cm
Width: 28.000 cm

Gift of Sir A.W. Franks

M&ME 1891,2-17,16;M&ME 1891,2-17,17

Room 46: Europe 1400-1800

    Enamel portrait plaques of King George III and Queen Charlotte, painted by William Hopkins Craft

    England, AD 1773

    Allegorical royal portraits

    King George III (reigned 1760-1820) and Queen Charlotte were both great patrons of the arts. The King was a renowned collector of Italian art, and Queen Charlotte was known for her patronage of Josiah Wedgwood I. Wares made from a refined creamware (cream-cloured earthenware) body were called 'Queen's Ware' in her honour after around 1765.

    The King is represented as a Roman warrior, with attributes referring to victorious battles on land and sea, while the Queen, also dressed in classical costume, is seen in an idealized classical landscape.

    These large enamel plaques, Craft's (1730?-1810) earliest known works, represent his great technical skill and high artistic achievement. His distinctive style and large-scale work is unusual among enamellers in England in the mid-eighteenth century. He exhibited allegorical plaques, portrait miniatures, larger portrait plaques, works in grisaille and enamels after antique gems at the Royal Academy from 1774 to 1749. His works demonstrate sophisticated composition, and reveal a considerable knowledge of both classical and contemporary sources. Craft was a well respected, accomplished enameller; his clients included royalty, noted politicians, scientists and patrons of the time.

    Craft was in partnership with David Rhodes around 1769-70 when invoices for enamelling on creamware and basalt were submitted to Wedgwood.

    A.J. Toppin, 'William Hopkins Craft, enamel painter (1730?-1810)', Transactions of the English Ce, 4: 4 (1959), pp. 14-18, plate 12

    R. Reilly, Wedgwood (London, Macmillan, 1989)

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