It was under the reign of George II that the charter of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) was granted. In January 1761, a life size portrait of the King was delivered to Princeton from Great Britain and hung in what is now the Faculty Room in Nassau Hall. The College President at the time, Samuel Davies, preached a funeral sermon on the King who had recently died. Sixteen years later, during the Battle of Princeton when Nassau Hall was bombarded by the American troops, a cannon ball came through a window and destroyed the portrait.
The portrait of George II seen here was presented to the University in 1936 by four alumni believing it be by the same artist who painted the earlier portrait, Charles Jarvis, court painter to George II. More recently, research has uncovered that this portrait is after Sir Godfrey Kneller’s (British, 1646-1723) portrait of George II when Prince of Wales that resides in the Royal Collection, London. In Princeton’s portrait, George the II is presented as King with royal orb and scepter. The identity of the copyist, who was probably a contemporary of Jarvis, has not yet been established.
Elizabeth Baughan and Karl Kusserow, "Framing history in early Princeton", Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 70 (2011): p 18-29.
Karl Kusserow et al., Inner sanctum: memory and meaning in Princeton’s Faculty Room at Nassau Hall, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Art Museum, 2010).
Edward Bottoms, "Charles Jervas, Sir Robert Walpole and the Norfolk Wigs," Apollo 145, no. 420 (Feb. 1, 1997): p. a44, a45, a46, a47, a48.
Ellis Waterhouse, Painting in Britain, 1530 to 1790, (New York: Penguin Books, 1978).
Anne Crookshank and the Knight of Glin, The painters of Ireland c. 1660-1920, (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1978).
Anne Crookshank and Desmond FitzGerald, Irish portraits 1660-1860: [exhibition]: National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 14 August-14 October 1969, National Portrait Gallery, London, 30 October 1969-4 January 1970, Ulster Museum, Belfast, 28 January-9 March 1970, (London: Paul Mellon Foundation for British art, 1969).
Donald D. Egbert, Princeton portraits, (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1947).
John Denison Champlin, Jr., Cyclopedia of painters and paintings, (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1886-87).