Queen Caroline Cultural Politics at the Early Eighteenth-Century Court Joanna Marschner

The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
Publication date:
04 Mar 2014
232 pages: 265 x 220 x 25mm
120 colour images + 40 black-&-white illustrations

As the wife of King George II, Caroline of Ansbach became queen of England in 1727. Known for her intelligence and strong character, Queen Caroline wielded considerable political power until her death in 1737. She was enthusiastic and energetic in her cultural patronage, engaging in projects that touched on the arts, architecture, gardens, literature, science, and natural philosophy. This meticulously researched volume will survey Caroline's significant contributions to the arts and culture and the ways in which she used her patronage to strengthen the royal family's connections between the recently installed House of Hanover and English society. She established an extensive library at St. James's Palace, and her renowned salons attracted many of the great thinkers of the day; Voltaire wrote of her, "I must say that despite all her titles and crowns, this princess was born to encourage the arts and the well-being of mankind."

Joanna Marschner is senior curator at Historic Royal Palaces.

‘It is an admirable tribute to an admirable woman.’—Lucy Worsley, Country Life

'Joanna Marschner’s meticulous study shows how the queen used her patronage to strengthen the new royal family’s libraries, also laying out gardens and in particular fostering the antiquarian ethos that was a distinctive feature of Georgian life. Voltaire wrote: “I must say that, despite all her titles and crowns, this princess was born to encourage the arts and the well-being of mankind.” This biography reinforces his judgement and throws interesting new light on Georgian England.’—John Martin Robinson, The Art Newspaper 

‘Splendidly illustrated, this book represents a major statement of the achievements of an overlooked figure, and contributes to the current reconsideration of the role of the queens consort. . .Queen Caroline furthers the ongoing reassessment of the cultural and intellectual role of women in Enlightenment Europe.’—Giles Waterfield, Apollo Magazine

‘Meticulously researched and elegantly written.’—Rebecca Wallersteiner, The Lady

‘Scrupulously researched and elegantly written, curator at Kensington Palace Dr Joanna Marschner’s fascinating biography of Queen Caroline, re-evaluates her importance in Georgian history.’—Absolutely Chelsea

‘These new biographies are in keeping with this eighteenth-century drive to treat cultural history as seriously as political and military history. They are major advances – both in scholarship and human empathy – on the standard works’—Ophelia Field, TLS.

‘This volume is a sumptuous art history performance… Queen Caroline comes alive.'—Anthony Fletcher, History Today

Shortlisted for the Longman-History Today Book of the Year 2015