George III: A Life in Caricature

Kenneth Baker discusses the many facets of King George and shows how these were depicted by the great caricaturists of the day.

In A new way to pay the National Debt (1786), James Gillray caricatured George III and Queen Charlotte awash with treasury funds to cover royal debts, with Pitt handing him another moneybag.Horace Walpole, writing to a friend, reported the death of George II on October 25th, 1760:

On Friday the King went to bed in perfect health and rose so the next morning at his usual hour of six; he called for and drank his chocolate. At seven, for everything with him was exact and periodic, he went into the closet to dismiss his chocolate. Coming from thence his valet de chambre heard a noise; waited a moment and heard something like a groan. He ran in, and in a small room between the closet and bedchamber he found the King on the floor, who had cut the right side of his face against the edge of a bureau, and who after a gasp expired.

His heir was his twenty-two-year old grandson George, who was strong, good-looking, and had led a life free from scandal. Above all he spoke English as his native tongue - George III was the first king since James II to be born, educated and raised in England. Samuel Johnson, writing to a friend in Italy reported,

We were so weary of our old King that we are much pleased with his successor, of whom we are so much inclined to hope great tilings, diat most of us begin already to believe them.

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