George V (1865–1936) had a long association with the Royal College of Music (RCM), having been present at his father’s visit to the newly opened College on 7 May 1883. He succeeded his father, Edward VII, as President of the College (in 1901) and as Patron (in 1911), and attended the celebrations of the College’s fiftieth anniversary on 9 May 1933.
This portrait, like the companion portrait of Queen Mary, was commissioned for the RCM by Mr Robert Finnie McEwan, a generous member of the RCM Council. The artist’s father, Charles West Cope, was a well known painter of historical and genre subjects, but Arthur Cope specialised in portraits and had a very distinguished list of sitters to his credit. He also ran an art school in South Kensington, where Vanessa Bell (1879–1961) was among his pupils.