English school, 18th Century
Frederick, Prince of Wales
Oil on canvas
13.3/4 x 11.3/8 in. (35 x 29 cm.) (excluding frame)
27 x 25.1/8 in. (68.5 x 64.5cm.) (including frame)
Frederick, Prince of Wales was the heir apparent to the British thrown from 1727 until his death in 1751. He was the eldest but estranged son of King George II and the father of King George III. A permanent result of his patronage of the arts is Rule Brittania composed by Thomas Arne which was first performed on the 1st August 1740 at Cliveden, his country home. He also patronised many artists from the period. Wishing to fit in after his arrival from Germany he became a passionate supporter of cricket and was in effect a county cricketer for Surrey. On beating Kent with a combined Surrey and Middlesex team he presented what is thought to be the first ever trophy in the sport. After his death the number of top class matches declined over the years. Frederick died at the age of 44 of a lung disease which has been attributed to a blow from a cricket ball but is now thought to be natural causes. He is buried at Westminster Abbey.
A Poem by William Makepeace Thackeray:
Here lies poor Fred who was alive and is dead
Had it been his father I had much rather,
Had it been his sister nobody would have missed her,
Had it been his brother still better than another,
Had it been the whole generation so much better for the nation,
But since it is Fred who was alive and is dead there is no more to be said.