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To His Most Excellent Majesty King George the Fourth This Monument of Art Is, By Permission, Most Respectfully Dedicated By His Majesty's Dutiful, Obedient Servant & Subject John Whittaker
London: John Whittaker, 1823. Hand-coloured aquatint and gold printed engraving on vellum. A masterful engraving commemorating the coronation of King George the Fourth "The Ceremonial of the Coronation of His Most Sacred Majesty King George the Fourth" was a sumptuously produced series of engravings by James and Francis Stephanoff under the supervision of John Whittaker portraying the principal participants in that coronation. The coronation itself was the most expensive ever financed by the British people. The Prince of Wales was actively involved in every aspect of the ceremony, including the costumes which derived from Elizabethan and Jacobean times. Of particular interest in this plate is St. Edward's crown held on a cushion in the gloved hands of the Dean of Westminster, John Ireland. The crown, made of gold and silver, is composed of four half arches that join and are surmounted by a cross. The whole was adorned with 1,213 diamonds, which were hired for the coronation but which were returned in 1823 when Parliament refused to buy them. St. Edward's crown is now adorned, of course, with the Crown Jewels, which give it quite a different character. The Coronation signalled the very different role George played as King in the cultural life of England, in contrast to previous kings and queens, particularly the Hanoverians. With his expansions of Buckingham House and Carlton House, and the Royal Art Collection, as well as his creation of Brighton Pavilion and the National Portrait Gallery, the great growth of the Royal Collections. All these were expensive, but were projects and acquisitions befitting a nation that had become an empire. John Whittaker's "Ceremonial" was published in 1823. There were 43 sets. The titles on all the plates were printed in gold, using a technique Whittaker had devised to print an edition of the Magna Carta in 1815. The illustrations were by James and Francis Stephanoff, and engraved (using aquatint and mezzotint) by S. W. Reynolds, William Bennett and others. All were color printed and hand-painted, many with rich, gold embellishment. The elaborate gold printed calligraphy is surmounted with a beautiful insignia comprised of St. Edward's Crown, various other Regalia, including the three Swords of State, the three ostrich feathers, heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales, and ribbons with the motto of the Prince of Wales: Ich Dien (I Serve) and the motto of the King of Great Britain: Dieu et Mon Droit, all exquisitely tooled. Martin Hardie, 69-71; the Royal Collection website; "Coronation of George IV" georgianindex.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2016-01-25           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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