An engraving depicting his Royal Highness Frederick Duke of York, Colonel of the Coldstream Guards.
The print notes to the bottom that it was ‘Published 10th Augt. 1790 by Robt. Sayer of 53 Fleet Street, London. Sayer was a popular printer and when he died, Robert Laurie and James Whittle (who had worked for him) took over his business. A similar version to this engraving, but with different hand colouring was published in 1794, the year of Sayer’s death, by Laurie & Whittle suggesting that it was still a popular subject.
Frederick’s father, George III, entered him into the army as a Colonel in 1780 before he went to Hanover to study for several years. Whilst in Hanover his military career continued becoming Colonel of the 2nd Horse Grenadier Guards in 1782 and shortly after rising to Major General. On the 28th of October he was appointed Colonel of the Coldstream Guards, his position noted on this print. A month later he was made the Duke of York and Albany.
Frederick, Duke of York wasn’t just a regimental figure head and was active in the Flanders Campaign in 1793. He had also previously shown his metal in 1789 by taking part in a duel with Colonel Charles Lennox who had insulted him. Lennox fired first and missed whereupon Prince Frederick declined to shoot. In Flanders Frederick commanded the British forces in Coburg’s army. He won several battles before losing at Tourcoing and returning home with the British contingent a few months later in 1795.
On his return, his father made him a Field Marshall and the Commander in Chief, with the position confirmed 3 years later. In 1797 he also became Colonel of the 60th Regiment of Foot. In August 1799, he commanded the British army in the joint invasion with Russia of Holland. After a number of disasters, Frederick signed the Convention of Alkmaar in October of the same year and the Allies withdrew.
The public perceived the expedition as a disaster and Frederick was ridiculed in the nursery rhyme The Grand Old Duke of York. The failure wasn’t all the Duke’s fault; the army was badly organised with the lack of effective supply chains hindering them.
The engraving shows Frederick seated on his horse as a proud Colonel of one of the army’s finest regiments. It was engraved 17 years before the invasion of Holland when the Duke was still a young soldier and the patriotic public would have created a demand for such prints. Published 10th August 1790.
Image size without titles is given.