These drawings relate to George IV's visit to Edinburgh in 1822. The King wore Highland dress at the Levée at Holyrood on 17th August, when Wilkie was presented to him. At the levee the King took his position 'Immediately behind the door of the entrance [to the picture gallery], and the Lord in waiting stood at his left hand' as suggested in the first drawing. The King is wearing the Royal Stewart tartan and the ribbon is that of the Thistle. The dress is essentially that depicted in Wilkie's full-length portrait of the King (Royal Collection), painted 1829-30. When he saw himself thus arrayed it is said that the King was heard to say 'I cannot help smiling at myself'.
The second drawing of the Archer gives the impression of being a likeness of a particular person, Wilkie wished to record the impression of, however it has not been possible to identify the sitter. The presence of women in the background makes it likely that the Archer was on duty in the drawing-room at Holyrood on the 20th August.
We are grateful to Professor Hamish Miles for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.