King William IV - The Queen's House, Greenwich, London, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Master Mariner
N 51° 28.883 W 000° 00.237
30U E 708027 N 5707615
Quick Description: This slightly larger than life-sized marble bust of King William IV was produced by Francis Legatt Chantrey in 1841. It is located in the Queen's House in Greenwich Park.
Location: London, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 9/23/2017 5:50:42 AM
Waymark Code: WMWNNM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member lumbricus
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Royal Museums Greenwich website tells us about the sculpture:

Head-and-shoulders classical-style marble bust of William IV on a round socle. The sitter's head is turned half to his left and has receding natural wavy hair over a high forehead. A loose robe is wrapped round his shoulders, folding over from his right to left at front centre.

The piece is signed on the back 'Sir Francis Chantrey / Sculptor / 1841'.

Chantrey's original bust was ordered when the sitter was still Duke of Clarence in 1829 but only executed in 1830 after his accession as William IV, immediately establishing Chantrey's position as his Sculptor-in-Ordinary. Eleven replicas followed, seven made after the King's death in 1837. This one was ordered (for 200 guineas) in 1839 by his widow, Queen Adelaide, for presentation to Greenwich Hospital. For many years, it stood as centrepiece in the Upper Hall on its matching cylindrical plinth, which no longer survives though it is recorded in photographs.

William had begun life as a serving naval officer, including as a subordinate and friend of Nelson, and as Duke of Clarence was briefly Lord High Admiral under his eldest brother George IV. This all earned him the soubriquet 'the Sailor King' when he unexpectedly succeeded to the throne in 1830 as George's only surviving brother.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of Greenwich Hospital, ensuring the appointment of his old naval friend Admiral Sir Richard Keats as Governor in 1821 and erecting a monument to him there, also by Chantrey, on his death in 1834. He also approved Sir Thomas Hardy's subsequent appointment as Governor (1834-39), but with the stipulation that he be recalled to sea should emergency warrant it.

William was good-hearted, enjoyed nautical company and was a popular visitor to the Hospital on several occasions during his reign. He was reported to have spent the last hours of his life signing royal pardons until he could no longer hold the pen.

The BBC website has an article about King William IV that further tells us:

William IV was king of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1830. He was known both as the 'Sailor King' and as 'Silly Billy'. His reign saw the passing of the Reform Act of 1832.

William was born at Buckingham Palace in London on 21 August 1765. He was the third son of George III and Queen Charlotte and as such was not expected to succeed to the throne. At the age of 13 he began a career in the Royal Navy. He enjoyed his time at sea, seeing service in America and the West Indies and becoming admiral of the fleet in 1811. In 1789, he was created Duke of Clarence.

From the early 1790s until 1811, William lived with his mistress, the actress Dorothy Jordan. They had 10 children who took the surname Fitzclarence.

In 1811, William's oldest brother George became prince regent (later George IV) when their father was declared insane. The death of the prince regent's only daughter in 1818 resulted in a scramble among George's brothers to marry and produce heirs. The same year, William married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. With the death of George III's second son, William became heir and then, with the death of George IV, king in June 1830.

He was initially very popular. His insistence on a simple coronation contrasted with the extravagance of his brother's reign.

William's reign was dominated by the Reform crisis. It began almost immediately when the Duke of Wellington's Tory government, which William supported, lost the general election in August 1830.

The Whigs, led by Lord Grey, came to power intent on pushing through electoral reform against strong opposition in the Commons and the Lords. Another general election in 1831 gave the Whigs a majority in the Commons but the Lords continued to reject the Reform Bill. There was a political crisis during the winter of 1831-1832, with riots in some parts of the country.

The king eventually agreed to create enough new Whig peers to get the bill through the House of Lords, but the Lords, who had opposed it, backed down and it was passed. The 1832 Reform Act abolished some of the worst abuses of the electoral system and extended the franchise to the middle classes.

William died on 20 June 1837, without surviving children. His niece Victoria succeeded him.

Monarch Ranking: King / Queen

Proper Title and Name of Monarch: King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Country or Empire of Influence: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

Website for additonal information: [Web Link]

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