The Easel

George IV: Art and Spectacle an exhibition at the Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace

King George IV gets awful press – “a bad husband, a bad father, a bad subject, a bad monarch”. Limited redemption comes from his “great, discerning” patronage of the arts. Whether in painting (Gainsborough, Stubbs), architecture (Soane), music or literature (Jane Austen), he facilitated “an astonishingly fecund moment in English cultural history … the last English monarch to leave London more handsome than he found it”.