James WARD after William Beechey
His Majesty Reviewing the third or Prince of Wales's Regiment of Dragoons & the Tenth or Prince of Wales's Regiment of Light Dragoons
31 x 28 inches
This is a most interesting print because it illustrates George III in a powerful stance on the back of his favourite horse, Adonis. There is no sign of the king's impending vulnerability or weakness in this striking pose. He is accompanied by his sons The Prince of Wales and The Duke of York and also Sir William Fawcit, Lieutenant General Dundas and Major General Goldsworthy.
James Ward was born in London in 1769, the brother of fellow engraver William Ward and also a pupil of the master mezzotint engraver, J. R. Smith. Later he devoted himself to painting, with animals a particular speciality, and was appointed as painter and mezzotint engraver to the Prince of Wales in 1794. He was elected to the Royal Academy in 1811, the year of this print, and died after a long and distinguished career at the age of ninety in 1859. During his career, Ward preserved most of his progress proofs for his work and eventually presented this collection to the British Museum where they act as an invaluable illustration of the skills required to become a competent mezzotint engraver. This archive certainly refutes any idea that mezzotint engraving is merely a mechanical imitation of painting and shows the level of skill that was required to produce a first rate impression.