Lot 5
  • 5

King George I

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • King George I
  • Order for his Proclamation, signed by twelve members of the Accession Council,
  • ink on paper
  • 14¾in by 9¾in
to George Compton, Earl of Northampton, Constable ("Chief Governor") of the Tower of London, informing him of the death of Queen Anne, "thereupon his Royal Majesty King George being here Proclaim'd According to the tenor of the Proclamation signed by us herewith sent unto your Lordshipp forthwith to Cause the said Proclamation to be Proclaim'd and Publish'd in the Usual Places within your Juristiction", signed by the Duke of Buckingham, Viscount Harcourt, the Duke of Shrewsbury, the Earl of Dartmouth, the Duke of Northumberland, the Duke of Ormonde, the Earl of Findlater, the Earl of Loudoun, William Bromley (Speaker of the Commons), the Earl of Poulett, the Earl of Radnor, and Lord Guernsey, one page, folio, integral address leaf with an additional later note written crosswise ("2d Aug. 1714 There is a meeting of Council appointed at St James's at ten o Clock this Day"), Saint James's Palace, 1 August 1714, papered seal, bound in nineteenth-century crushed red morocco gilt


Lewis Harcourt, First Viscount Harcourt (1863-1922), armorial bookplate

Catalogue Note

AN ORDER MARKING THE BEGINNING OF THE HANOVERIAN DYNASTY. Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch, died at Kensington Palace at 7.45 am on 1 August 1714. Shortly afterwards the Accession Council - largely comprising members of the late Queen's Privy Council - met, in line with tradition, at St James's, and in the afternoon of the same day they proclaimed Georg Ludwig, Elector of Hanover, as King George I of Great Britain and Ireland. George's accession was in line with the 1701 Act of Settlement, but his peaceful assumption of the crown could not be taken for granted, making George's smooth and swift proclamation of particular significance. There were more than fifty people with a closer claim to the throne by blood who had been excluded by 1701 Act on the basis of their Catholic religion, but several of the Queen's Tory ministers had been in secret negotiation with James Stuart, the Pretender, in the early months of 1714. 

The accession proclamation was first read at St James's, when the council itself was meeting, at about 4pm, and following receipt of this order, Northampton ensured that George was proclaimed at traditional sites in and around London: Charing-Cross, Temple-Bar, at the End of Woodstreet in Cheapside, and the Royal Exchange. 

The arrival of the new King soon resulted in a major political shift in which most of the Councillors who signed this document - those who had ensured the smooth transfer to the House of Hanover - were swept from power as a Tory administration gave way to the Whigs. Indeed a year after signing this document the Duke of Ormond fled Britain to join the exiled Jacobite court in France.