Officer of the Late 1st Hussars, K.G.L.
Officer of the Late 1st Hussars, K.G.L.


Officer of the Late 1st Hussars, K.G.L.

1817 England

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George Francis Joseph A.R.A.
Officer of the Late 1st Hussars, K.G.L.
Oil on canvas, signed
Image size: 34¾ x 27½ inches
Original Gilt Frame

-Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1817 under the title ‘Portrait of and Officer of the Late 1st Hussars’ (cat. No. 393)
Born in Dublin in 1764, George Francis Joseph spent most of his working life in London, where he practised as a portraitist and illustrator. Joseph entered the Royal Academy schools in 1784, initially training as an engraver. He was a constant exhibitor at both the Royal Academy, where he was elected as an Associate in 1813, and at the British Institution. Although he also produced numerous designs for book illustrations, Joseph is best known as a portrait painter. His portraits of the Prime Minister Spencer Perceval (1812), and Sir Stamford Raffles (1817), reside in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

This dashing portrait is a fine example of Joseph’s work, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1817 under the title ‘Portrait of an Officer of the Late First Hussars, K.G.L.’ (cat. No.393). The K.G.L., or King’s German Legion, was formed following the occupation of Hanover by Napoleon and the formal dissolution of the Electorate of Hanover at the Convention of Artlenburg in 1803. Many of its members were former Hanoverian soldiers, who travelled to England after their regiments in Hanover had been disbanded to serve in the British Army under the deposed Elector of Hanover, King George III.

The legion was a mixed corps, made up of a combination of infantry, artillery and cavalry regiments. It saw active service as an integral part of the British Army from its formation in 1803, up until its disbandment in 1816. The cavalry regiments of the K.G.L., including the 1st Regiment of Hussars, were renowned for their daring in the field, and for the excellent care and fondness that they regarded their horses. They fought across the Peninsular and Waterloo campaigns and were described in the military memoirs of Edward Costello of the 95th Rifles as ‘the finest and most effective [cavalry] I ever saw in action’ (Costello, The Peninsula and Waterloo Campaigns, pp.24-25).

Although the identity of the sitter is currently unknown, he was clearly a high-ranking officer who had distinguished himself in battle, as evidenced by the medal on his chest, which has been identified as a Knight’s division of the Royal Guelphic Order, otherwise known as the Hanoverian Guelphic Order.
This highly prestigious order was created by the Prince Regent, later George IV, in 1815 as a Hanoverian order of chivalry and named after the House of Guelph, from whom the Hanoverian monarchs were descended.

Height 34.75 inch (88.26 cm)
Width 27.50 inch (69.85 cm)
Oil on canvas
Signed lower left
Darnley Fine Art

Darnley Fine Art

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