The painting depicts Princess Augusta (1719-72), the mother of George III, and was painted by George Knapton (1698- 1778) in the grounds of Kew Palace. It will now hang in Cambridge Cottage at Kew.
Princess Augusta ‘back home’
A spokeswoman for Kew said: “Despite having one of the largest collections of botanical art in the world (around 200,000 images), we had no original painting of our founder – only two prints – so we were thrilled to be able to add this magnificent portrait to our collections. We are delighted that Princess Augusta is back in her own home, open to Kew visitors to enjoy.”
The oil on canvas, measuring 5ft 11 x 4ft 8in (1.81 x 1.41m) and signed and dated G. Knapton 1758, is believed to have been purchased for a sum in the region of £30,000 which was funded with the help of donations from Trustees and friends of Kew.
The painting is thought to have been commissioned by the sitter as a gift to her brother. It was previously in a private collection in Portugal and is believed to have been inherited by descent via King Fernando II of Portugal.