"Angelica Kauffman pinx.t W.W. Ryland Excudit. Thomas Burke fecit. Her Majesty Queen Charlotte, raigin the Genius of the Fine Arts. No. 1 Publish'd according to Act of Parliament May ye 19th 1772, by W.W.Ryland, Engraver to his Majesty London." CRE BURKE, Thomas; (Irish; 1749-1815) AFTER KAUFFMAN, Angelica; (English; 1741-1807) PUB RYLAND, William, Wynne; (English; 1732-1783) NFA assisted purchase. This print was acquired for an exhibition about the art collection of Dr Hunter. From 1763 Hunter was Physician Extraordinary to Queen Charlotte (1744-1818). As the foremost obstetrician in London, Hunter was the ideal man to supervise the birth of the royal children, and he was present at the birth of all her children born during his lifetime. His art collection consisted of 60 paintings, and much of his art was stored in his library, where he had a collection of mezzotints, among which this print might naturally have been included because of his close relationship with the Queen and with the arts.
Published in the early years of the Royal Academy, of which Hunter was Professor of Anatomy, the print is a memorial to Charlotte's influence on the art of painting. There are interesting relationships between Hunter's art collection and those of George and Charlotte. With Charlotte, Hunter shared a particular liking for Johann Zoffany, which is reflected in his print collection, especially theatrical subjects with famous performances by such actors as Foote and Garrick.
It is perhaps part of the artist's intention to represent the Queen's oldest son, George Prince of Wales, as a sleeping Cupid. Interestingly George did go on to become a highly important and knowledgeable art collector.