Life of Frederick, Prince of Wales, 1707-1751

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Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707-1751), notoriously dubbed “Poor Fred,” has hitherto been known primarily for having predeceased his father George II. In his 24 years as heir to the throne, however, he established himself as Britain’s greatest royal collector between Charles I and George IV, and many of the finest works of art in the present Royal Collection prove to have been acquired by him. The late Dr. Frances Vivian’s biography, the fruit of long years of archival research, re-examines Frederick’s role as an outstanding connoisseur; it also, for the first time, looks in detail at his architectural commissions and his patronage of a wide spectrum of the arts. Dr. Vivian’s study of the prince, the first to be published for many years, covers every significant aspect of his life, including his early years in Hanover, his famously difficult relations with his parents, his own very happy marriage and family life, and his controversial involvement in British politics. Edited for publication by Roger White, this work offers a much fuller and more sympathetic picture of one of Britain’s greatest might-have-beens than has been available until now.


“It is both an honour and a pleasure to have been invited to contribute to this long-awaited biography of Frederick, Prince of Wales ... The final version of Dr. Vivian’s text now presents us with a fully-informed picture of a well-educated and cultivated Prince, who made a considerable contribution to court life, and to artistic and musical circles, in both England and Germany.” – (from the Foreword) Hon. Lady Roberts, Librarian and Keeper of the Print Room at Windsor Castle, Windsor

“ ... a worthwhile and valuable contribution to scholarship, particularly in its role in establishing its subject as a significant cultural patron and developing a previously unappreciated European and British context for his commitment to the arts ..." – Dr. Matthew Kilburn, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

“Frederick, Prince of Wales, is a neglected figure in the current historical literature. The revival of interest in Court Studies has meant a growth of scholarly interest in the way royal personages projected their image through patronage of the arts, letters, and sciences, and the late Dr. Frances Vivian’s research is well-poised to fill this gap, as it is the first full-length monograph to look systematically at his cultural life.” – Miss Clarissa Campbell Orr, Anglia Ruskin University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface by Hon. Lady Roberts
Editor’s Foreword and Acknowledgements
1. The House of Hanover
2. Royal Quarrel and Family Reconcillation
3. Frederick and Hanover
4. Frederick in England
5. Frederick’s Early Patronage
6. Friendship, Love, and Marriage
7. Politics and Family Rivalry
8. Frederick’s Houses and Household
9. Frederick and the Opposition
10. Frederick and the Connoisseurs

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