The New Georgians celebrates the tercentenary of the Hanoverian accession. This exhibition, part of the Richmond upon Thames Georgian Festival, commemorates this historical event through a display exploring the life and local links of Queen Caroline of Ansbach (1683-1737), wife of King George II. Caroline lavishly dined in the Octagon Room on a visit here in 1729. Her husband’s mistress, Henrietta Howard, lived at the nearby Marble Hill House.
The main focus of the exhibition is contemporary artwork from across the UK submitted via open submission. Artists explore the impact and relevance of 18th century history, society, ideas, culture and styles in the 21st century. Alongside reverent homages and playful pastiches are genres and media revolutionised and popularised in the 18th century, including botanical art, landscapes, portraits, prints and ceramics.
Costume, accessories and the representation and roles of women are also popular themes - which is fitting as the exhibition honours Queen Caroline, who possessed great intellect, culture, personal charm and political influence. In her husband’s absences, she acted as Regent or Protector of the Realm.
Also on display are works created for the exhibition by the gallery’s artist in residence Michael Coldman. His constructions made from found, recycled and second hand objects are transformed into three dimensional scenes examining Georgian life and Queen Caroline and her Court. These often humorous works are complemented by a choice selection of 18th century caricatures by British artists Hogarth, Smith and Gillray from the Richmond Borough Art Collection.