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Warwick The Kingmaker, 1835
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Warwick The Kingmaker, 1835

Measurements: Overall: 39cm (15.3in) x 30cm (12in)

£1400

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Watercolour and gouache. Equestrian portrait of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and 6th Earl of Salisbury (1428-1471), in armour mounted on a fully caparisoned charger, displaying the St George’s cross. Inscribed upper right ‘Earl of Warwick AD 1471’. Image 28cm (10.6in) x 18.5cm (7.3in). Framed and glazed.

This work exemplifies the revival of interest in the age of chivalry that took hold in England at the end of the eighteenth and at the start of the nineteenth centuries as a reaction in part to the industrialisation. Moreover such interest pervaded gentlemanly conduct until dashed to pieces by the First World War. The fine detail of the present work suggests the hand of George Perfect Harding who devoted himself to producing minute copies in watercolour of works of historical and antiquarian interest.

Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, the Kingmaker’, was the most powerful adherent of the Yorkist faction in the Wars of the Roses. His retainers are said to have numbered 30,000. He fought in the battles Northampton, Second St. Albans and Towton, and was largely rewarded by Edward IV. He became Governor of Calais, Lord Deputy of Ireland, and Warden of the Welsh Marches. Being greatly displeased with the favour shown to the family of Edward’s new wife, Neville defected to the Lancastrian party. In 1470 he, together with Edward IV’s brother Clarence fled to France, where they made common cause with Margaret of Anjou, and invaded England in her interest. Edward IV was forced to leave the country but returned soon after and encountered Warwick at Barnet, where the latter was slain.

George Perfect Harding (1780-1853) trained under his father and began work as a miniature painter, exhibiting in 1802 at the Royal Academy. In 1804 he painted a miniature self-portrait for which he wore the uniform of the Royal York Marylebone Volunteers https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw02911/George-Perfect-Harding. He visited family seats of the nobility, royal palaces, and college halls to produce highly finished copy portraits and plates for many publications. He produced he devoted considerable time to produced in 1828 an elaborately illustrated manuscript account, 'The Princes of Wales’, now in the Royal Library at Windsor. He lived and worked in the Strand up to 1822, and later moved to Lambeth where he had a large family by his second wife. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1839, but withdrew in 1847. Towards the end of his life he had money troubles, and sold his collections of drawings. Examples of his work are in the National Portrait Gallery and the British Museum, London; the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh; the National Museum and Gallery of Wales, Cardiff; Newport Art Gallery; and Bath City Art Gallery.

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