The Life of Buckingham

The Life of Buckingham

c. 1855

Augustus Leopold Egg

(British, 1816-c. 1863)

Oil on board

Framed: 54.1 x 64.5 x 10.2 cm (21 5/16 x 25 3/8 x 4 in.); Unframed: 30.5 x 40.5 cm (12 x 15 15/16 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2014.373

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Description


Reimagining English history was one way that Victorian (1837–1901) artists rooted themselves during a period of tremendous social and political change and life-altering technological advances. Augustus Leopold Egg’s The Life of Buckingham depicts a fictional moment in the debauched, roguish life of George Villiers (1628–1687), 2nd Duke of Buckingham (seated at the center, wearing white). Although the scene is invented, the merrymakers and courtesans depicted around the table (among them King Charles II, to Buckingham’s right) were characters the duke would have personally known and were familiar to Victorian audiences who delighted in the cautionary tale of excess.

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