Victorian London - Buildings, Monuments and Museums - Statue of George IV (Trafalgar Square)

Equestrian Statue of George IV. - The bronze statue of George IV. by Chantry is, generally speaking, a fine work, at once worthy of the artist and an ornament to the metropolis, if we except the omission of the boots and spurs, and also a covering for the head, which, whether hat or helmet, might have been placed in the hand, and the absence of which give it an unfinished and incomplete appearance. The likeness is at once characteristic and elegant; the rider is well placed in the saddle, and has an air of dignified ease, the left hand holding the bridle loosely, mid the right holding a baton, which rests on the thigh. The horse stands firmly in a natural position, all four feet being placed on the ground, the head small, and animated in expression, chest ample, and limbs finely formed ; the hind quarters, however, appear somewhat spate, a circumstance arising from the artist having adopted the Arabian instead of the Flemish breed, the sort of horse that, much in use among cavalry regiments, generally figures in the battle-pieces of Rubens. Clothed in a mantle, the artist has escaped from the difficulty of representing the King in the unpicturesque costume of the present day; but the propriety of this may perhaps be questioned--the preferable mode, as being more true to nature, being to represent the monarch "in his habit as he lived;" a departure from which, it must be admitted, renders it of nondescript character, and consequently somewhat unsatisfactory.

source: Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844