Don’t you love it when you find a large version of a wonderful historical artwork that you’ve only ever seen in very small versions?
Like this fantastic Zoffany portrait of Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz:
It’s full of the most glorious details.
There are her sons, with George IV in Roman inspired armour:
Prinny looks a wee bit petulant, possibly because the dog clearly loves mummy more than him! (and honestly, who wouldn’t be jealous over that dog’s look of adoration? I’m not even a dog person and I want to hug it!)
The whole outfit is fantastic, but oh, his boots! Aren’t they just the most adorable things ever?
If he isn’t mad about the dog, perhaps Prinny is glaring at his little brother, wishing he were wearing Prince Frederick’s Orientalist attire. It is rather fabulous isn’t it? And the turban is doing a cunning job of doubling as a pudding cap – the padded caps worn by small children in the 18th century to keep them from injury when they toppled over.
It’s not quite as exciting/unusual as royal children’s fancy dress, but the portrait also provides lovely details of Charlotte’s dress: the glimpse of her shoe, the punched hem of her skirt ruffle, the triple layers of lace engageants, and finely roll-pleated trim.
Charlotte is sitting by her dressing table, giving us a wonderful look at a mid-18th century dressing table. We can see each pot and pouf. The dressing table is draped in a literal fortune in handmade lace, emphasising Charlotte’s wealth and status. Even more fabulously, the mirror reflects Charlotte’s profile, giving us a simultaneous front and side view of her hair – and her fantastically over-the-top earrings.
There are more wonderful details hidden in the painting. Glimpses of the other artwork in the room, showing scenes from Greek & Roman mythology. And two Chinese figures, which frame Charlotte, reinforcing the themes of worldly knowledge and wealth.
My absolute favourite detail is this one though:
A tiny glimpse of another portrait in the hall off the main room. I wonder who it is?