A Late Princess personifying Peace crowning the Glory of England reflected on Europe
DOWNMAN, John (1750 - 1824)
Media: oil on canvas
Size: 197.6 x 222.1 cm
Acquired: 1997; Purchase
Accession Number: NMW A 3591
Downman was born in Ruabon and studied in London with Benjamn West. He specialised in elegant portraits and theatrical scenes. This allegory is his last known work. It belonged to Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn (1772-1840) 5th baronet, and hung at Wynnstay. At the 1819 Royal Academy, it was accompanied by a poem:
Hail, lovely Peace! In glory spread thy arms, ... To crown blest Britain in triumphant charms. Europe's encircled Sov'reigns join thy ways ...
The 'late Princess' is the daughter of George IV, Charlotte Augusta of Wales (1796-1817), whose death in childbirth was lamented as a national disaster. She is represented by the winged Peace and the enthroned England. The trophy of weapons alludes to the defeated Napoleon, and the putto with a crown refers to 'Europe's encircled Sov'reigns' - who regained their thrones after his fall. The lion and the unicorn, garter and sword of state are attributes of England and the putti with a dove and a cornucopia attend on Peace.