Duchess of York & Albany

William Marshall Craig, 1815


The eldest daughter of Frederick William II, King of Prussia, Princess Frederica was born in Charlottenburg in 1767. She married the second son of George III, Prince Frederick Duke of York and Albany in 1791. The marriage was not a happy one though and the couple soon separated without having had any children. Known to her friends affectionately as ‘Freddie’, the Duchess moved to Oatlands Park in Weybridge. She was fond of animals and is said to have filled her house with dogs, cats and monkeys; for amusement she played high stakes gambling. The Duchess remained on good terms with her estranged husband and was well favoured by her mother-in-law, Queen Charlotte. She died in 1820 and was buried in Weybridge Church.

In this important portrait from life, the Duchess is depicted holding an English rose, her arm resting on a small table where her royal crown is displayed, her coats of arms resting by her feet. She stands on a terrace with a view of a classical building beyond.

The portrait is painted in monochrome watercolour with colour used for her features and hair. It is signed in full along the bottom edge ‘Drawn in Septr 1815 by W.M. CRAIG Painter to her Majesty and their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York’. It is in fine condition and is presented in a rosewood frame with a gilt slip. The slip is a little discoloured and there is a scratch to the glass.

William Marshall Craig (1765-1834) initially worked in Manchester before moving to London in 1791. He exhibited at the Royal Academy and was appointed Painter in Water-colours to Queen Charlotte and miniature painter to the Duke and Duchess of York. Several drawings by Craig are held in the V & A Museum.

Item Ref. 6097

Size: framed, 347 x 250mm (13⅝ x 9⅞")