Oil painting on canvas, King Charles III, King of Spain (1716-1788) by studio of Anton Raphael Mengs (Aussig 1728 – Rome 1779). Three-quarter-length portrait of a man before dark classical landscape. He wears a grey wig tied back with curls falling over right shoulder. He wears a rich brown coat with deep ornately embroidered cuffs, over a white cravat. He has a red sash across from his right shoulder, and a red ribbon with the Order of the Golden Fleece around his neck. A rich blue court train trimmed with ermine is draped over his left arm and around his back. His right hand holds a telescope. His left hand appears to indicate scenes of battle below castle towers. A plumed helmet lies lower right. In the background the Castel Nuovo at Naples.
Charles III of Spain (1716 -1788) was the fifth son of Philip V and the eldest of the sons that Elizabeth Farnese bore him, was - thanks in large part to her machinations - successively Duke of Parma (1731 -35), King of Naples (1734 -59), and King of Spain (1759 -88). He achieved much in Italy, developing Naples and Sicily after centuries of neglect - government and finances were reformed to the extent that taxes were cut. Interested in the arts, he founded the Capodimonte Pottery and built Caserta Palace, while later in Spain he constructed the Prado. As Spanish monarch he continued as an enlightened despot reviving the economy and making government more efficient and attacking church privileges – a campaign that included the expulsion of the Jesuits. George William Hervey, 2nd Earl of Bristol (1721 -75) was Ambassador in Spain and seems to have been fobbed off with a portrait of the sovereign to whom he was accredited, in his previous guise as ruler of Naples – no doubt because Mengs did not arrive in Madrid until September 1761.
Presumably given by the sitter to George William, 2nd Earl of Bristol (1721–1775) when he was Ambassador to Madrid (1758–61), and thence by inheritance and descent, until acquired with the house and its major contents in lieu of tax on the death of the 4th Marquess (1863–1951) and transferred to the National Trust in 1956
Makers and roles
studio of Anton Raphael Mengs (Aussig 1728 – Rome 1779), artist
Farrer 1908 Edmund Farrer, Portraits in Suffolk Houses (West), 1908, no. 323