Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World
Caroline of Ansbach (1683–1737), Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719–1772), and Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz (1744–1818) were German princesses, two of whom became Queens Consort, while the third—Augusta—was Queen Consort in waiting, Regent, and Princess Dowager of Great Britain. They were linked by their early years at European princely courts, as well as their aspirations, their involvement in Enlightened thought, and their engagement with the world within and beyond the borders of their adopted nation.
This sumptuously illustrated book considers the ways in which these powerful, intelligent women left lasting marks on British society, and the cultures of the wider world, through a broad range of activities: the promotion of the court as a dynastic forum for the Hanoverian regime; the enrichment of the royal library and art collections; the advancement of science and trade; and the creation of gardens and menageries.
The objects discussed range from spectacular state portraits to pedagogical toys, from musical scores to porcelain and silver, from scientific instruments to plant and animal specimens, revealing how the princesses’ promotion of the new and novel was complemented by the celebration of the historical and traditional. Their legacy has been far-reaching, and by turn enriching, troubling, and enduring.
Joanna Marschner is Senior Curator, Historic Royal Palaces. David Bindman is Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at University College London. Lisa L. Ford is Assistant Director of Research at the Yale Center for British Art.