William Ward after G.H. Harlow.
His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, Regent of the United Kingdom.
22 x 27¾ inches
In this most propitious of years, we witness a dramatic shift of power from father to son. After the tragic death of George III's youngest daughter, Princess Amelia, in November 1810 the king's health deteriorated rapidly and the succession was in jeopardy. In response, on the 5th of February 1811, parliament passed the Regency Act whereby the Prince of Wales became, to all intents and purposes, king of the land. There began one of the most colourful and controversial periods in British history. Political machinations continued unabated but aside from this, the prince unleashed a creative force that was to impose the Regency Style upon everything from art and architecture to furniture and fashion. Beau Brummel and the Dandies flocked to the extravagant parties held at Carlton House and the outrageous Brighton Pavilion. The Bon Ton revelled in the sophistication of Regent's Park and marvelled at Nash's municipal masterpiece, the magnificent Regent Street; both named in honour of the prince. Elsewhere debts mounted, mistresses monopolised the marital bed and morality took a knocking. Nothing sums up the controversy surrounding the Regency better than Jane Austen's attitude to the prince. On the one hand she despised his debauched lifestyle and the odious way he treated his wife, the much-maligned Princess Caroline, but on the other hand she saw commercial potential in both a booming marketplace and a royal patronage. It was with heavy heart, therefore, that she dedicated Emma to "His Royal Highness, The Prince Regent".£1650