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George II, although he initially evinced little interest in the Museum, was the sovereign who gave the Royal Assent to the British Museum Act, 1753. In 1757 he donated the Old Royal Library of the Sovereigns of England. To demonstrate their gratitude the Museum’s Trustees commissioned a portrait from the artist John Shackleton, probably in 1761 since the first reference to the painting is in the minutes of the Trustees’ Standing Committee, 16 April 1762, when it is said to be almost ready 'except for the shading, wch he [Shackleton] desired leave to be permitted to do at the Museum, in order to adapt it according to the situation it is to be placed in'. In August 1762 a frame was ordered from a Mr Stone at a maximum price of 11 guineas. The frame was offered and accepted for 8 guineas in December 1766.
oil on canvas
H 231.1 x W 147.3 cm
commissioned by the Trustees, 1761