SAY, William after Sir William BEECHEY (1753-1839)
His Royal Highness Edward Duke of Kent and Strathearn
London: W. Say, 92 Norton Street, Marylebone, July 14, 1808. Mezzotint. In excellent condition with the exception of a skillfully mended tear on the left margin extending into the image. Image size: 26 1/4 x 17 7/16 inches. Sheet size: 31 9/16 x 20 7/8 inches. Plate mark: 27 7/8 x 17 1/2 inches.
An impressive portrait of His Royal Highness, Edward the Duke of Kent, at the defense of Gibraltar.
Edward Augustus was the fourth son of George III and Queen Charlotte; he spent his early years in Switzerland where he received a strict education from the Baron Wagenheim. Throughout his life he took an active role in the army, joining Lord Grey's forces in the West Indies and taking part in the reduction of St. Lucia. In the political sphere, he spoke adamantly for Catholic emancipation and the abolishment of the slave trade. Edward was an active Freemason who was viewed as an intricate force in the development of Freemasonry in England. By resolving the ideological differences between the "Ancients" and the "Moderns", he succeeded in forming the United Grand Lodge of England, and thus unifying the movement under one ideological concept. Late in life, Edward married Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, and their daughter Victoria became one of the most influential and best-loved monarchs of Britain.
O'Donoghue, Catalogue of Engraved British Portraits... in the British Museum 2.