Find thousands of books, manuscripts, visual materials and unpublished archives from our collections, many of them with free online access.

Ladies and gentlemen admiring a colonnade erected in June 1762 to mark the birthday of King George III. Engraving by D. Cunego, 1775, after R. Adam.

  • Adam, Robert, 1728-1792.
Published as the Act directs 1775
  • Pictures

About this work


A moonlight scene on the birthday of the king, 4 June 1762, his second birthday as king. Possibly in the gardens of Buckingham House, which he purchased in 1762, or in St James's Park. The print shows a colonnade, in three sides of which are set large allegorical paintings, which are presumably transparencies. "Transparencies [were] large scale backdrops of lightweight linen first used to effect transformation scenes in the theatre. When lit from the front, they appeared opaque, but when lit from behind, a second scene, painted in translucent colours on the back of the semi--transparent fabric, became visible. Daytime pictures could therefore metamorphose magically at night, especially when combined with a mass of multi-coloured glass oil-lamps incorporated into an architectural mise en scène, or simply dangling from the branches of nearby trees. ... George III's recovery from his first attack of porphyria in 1789 occasioned a succession of illuminations, from the pyramids incorporating transparencies of Apollo and Hygeia [sic], designed by Robert Adam for the façade of the Earl of Hopetoun's house in Cavendish Square, to the scheme of ciphers, festoons and stars designed by John Soane for the Bank of England [...]"-Fox, loc. cit.


[London], Published as the Act directs 1775.

Physical description

1 print : engraving, with etching ; platemark ca. 45.5 x 60.4 cm


Original design of an illumination & transparency, part of which was executed by command of the Queen in June 1762, in honour of His Majesty's birthday. Dessein original d'une illumination et transparence, dont une partie a été executée par ordre de la reine dans le mois de juin 1762, en honneur du jour de la naissance du roi. R. Adam architect 1762. D. Cunego, sculp. Romae

References note

Celina Fox, [review of] Melanie Doderer-Winkler, Magnificent entertainments: temporary architecture for Georgian festivals, in The art newspaper, no. 255, March 2014, p. 69


Wellcome Library no. 3063576i



  • English
  • French

Where to find it

Permanent link