Portrait of Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765), bust-length, in military dress, wearing the Garter Star
oil on canvas
30 x 2412 in. (76.3 x 62.2 cm.)
Sir Terence Conran C.H. (1931-2020) at Barton Court, Berkshire and by descent.
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Lot Essay

Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland was the third son of George II, and famous (or infamous) for his success at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The present painting falls into a group of several bust-length versions of the Duke of Cumberland executed in Reynolds' studio in or around 1756-1761. Reynolds' sitter books record three sittings by the Duke in 1758, though it is not clear from the entries to which portrait these dates are connected. Since the Duke gave up all his military commands in 1757, this may provide a terminus ante quem for the execution of the prime version, precluding the 1758 sittings from being those for this portrait type. Reynolds ledgers record payments for two heads of the Duke commissioned by a General Hudson and a Colonel Grey in the early 1760s, which logically would have been versions of the military type rather than the bust-length of the Duke in his Garter robes. The pattern of the present painting was also engraved by C. Spooner, the last state published in 1761, and by E. Fisher as after a portrait painted in 1760, providing further dates for the various works that belong to the group. Other examples of the this portrait type can be found in the National Portrait Gallery, London (inv. no. NPG 625); the National Portrait Galery, Edinburgh (inv. no. 910); and in the Newark Museum, New Jersey.

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