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With the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the longstanding Stuart monarchy, who united the kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, came to an end in what was now the United Kingdom. With the introduction of the Hanoverian dynasty with King George I, Britain became distinctly more aware of the differences in European culture and what was distinctly 'British'.


European court painters, active from the second half of the 17th century onward, like Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godrey Kneller and Michael Dahl, had integrated so well into British society - many even receiving knighthoods - that they can truly be regarded as countrymen of their English counterparts, like William Dobson and John Michael Wright.