BARTOLOZZI, Francesco after J. RUSSELL
His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
London: Published by John Jeffryes, Ludgate Hill, June 15th, 1795. Stipple engraving. Faint collectors stamp on verso of sheet. In pristine condition. Image size (including text): 19 7/16 x 13 1/8 inches. Sheet size: 23 3/16 x 16 5/8 inches. Plate mark: 22 1/2 x 15 7/8 inches.
This portrait of George IV, is one of the most celebrated eighteenth century archery prints.
The latter half of the eighteenth century witnessed the emergence of numerous clubs and societies, which the English gentry were keen to join. The Society of Royal Kentish Bowmen, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, later King George IV, is a perfect example of this burgeoning 18th century trend for exclusive sporting clubs. The Prince of Wales insisted that every member of the Society should wear a 'dandyish' uniform comprising of a grass green coat with a white waistcoat and breeches. In Russell's charming portrait, the Prince Regent is shown in the Bowman's uniform, in the background are the other members of the society participating in a shooting match. Russell's portrait not only identifies the Prince as an avid archer, but cleverly connects his person with the exclusive archery society. At the time of production this work was extremely popular both for its flattering depiction of the Regent, and for the publicity garnered by the Bowmen. This is a lovely impression from the collection of F. W. Hope (1797-1862).
Vesme & Calabi, Francesco Bartolozzi 820, iv/iv; O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 50.