Farmer George: the King goes online

07.02.2017 | category: General

2016 saw the digitisation of the RHS Lindley Library’s Brown Account Book, and the Royal Bank of Scotland Archives' holdings of Brown’s Drummonds bank account. These wonderful research resources have recently been joined by the Georgian Papers Programme* which aims to digitise the Royal Hanoverian archives and publish them online. The project has enjoyed considerable media coverage in the past two weeks, including a BBC2 TV documenary George III - The Genius of the Mad King which concentrated on the papers of King George III. The project will include the digitisation of all the Royal Collections Trust's historic manuscripts from the Georgian period (more than 350,000 pages), the vast majority of papers relating to George III, with further papers covering the Hanoverian Dynasty between 1714-1837. 

George III (1738-1820), Britain's longest reigning male monarch, employed Brown as a Master Gardener, based at Hampton Court Palace. In the index of the Brown account book, George III is recorded under K for King. George wanted the gardens at Hampton Court preserved not improved, but did have grandiose plans for Kew, just down the river, with a landscape designed by Brown and a new palace designed by William Chambers, Brown’s arch rival

The proposed palace only reached the stage of digging and foundations (the army were roped in to do some of the labour). The area where some of Brown’s work is thought to have begun has been obscured in the main by later planting schemes, although the view across the river to Syon that remains is thought to be part of his plan.

Whilst the Georgian Papers Project online search doesn’t currently show any mention of Mr Brown, there are several articles that shed fascinating light onto the wider agricultural interests of the king who was known as “Farmer George” during his lifetime. There are still several years of work to go in the digitisation project which hopes to have all the papers online by 2020, making it a fantastic research resource for anyone working on the Georgian era.

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*King's College London and the Royal Archives established the Georgian Papers Programme to enrich public historical understanding of Britain, George III, British monarchy and a crucial period in British and world history. The GPP is a partnership between the Royal Collection Trust and King’s College London, and is joined by primary United States partners the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the College of William & Mary. The project hopes to transform the understanding of eighteenth-century North America and Georgian Britain and its monarchy, at a time of profound cultural, political, economic and social change which created the modern nation.

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