George III, King of the United Kingdom (1738-1820)

  • Succeeded his grandfather, George II, following the death in 1751 of his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales
  • In 1761 married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz; the future George IV and William IV, and Edward, Duke of Kent (father of Queen Victoria) were among their 15 children
  • Purchased Buckingham House (now Palace) soon after his marriage; adapted and enlarged it as his principal London residence
  • Acquired Consul Smith’s collections of paintings, drawings, books, gems and medals in 1762 to furnish the new residence
  • Was trained in architecture and design by Sir William Chambers; was active as an architectural draftsman and designer
  • At his country residences — Richmond, Kew and Windsor — had plans for extensive new buildings or refurbishment, but most of his achievements were swept away by George IV’s more grandiose schemes
  • Suffered from porphyria in the late 1780s and increasingly in his last years; a Regency was declared in 1811 for his eldest son, the future George IV
  • Consolidated British interests in India; his collection was enriched with numerous Indian artefacts (the Huma bird; the Padshahnama)
  • Lost the American colonies in 1776–83
  • His wide interests included books, music, clocks, watches, scientific instruments, and farming (‘Farmer George’), but he favoured plain economical living
  • Encouraged British craftsmanship and production and never travelled outside England
  • Founded the Royal Academy of Arts in 1768
  • Formed a magnificent collection of books (The King’s Library) and topography, mostly given by George IV to the British Museum
  • Commissioned paintings from Ramsay, Zoffany, West and Gainsborough

Reigned: 1760–1820



Objects associated with George III, King of the United Kingdom (1738-1820)