On this day: the Coronation of a King

The coronation of George IV of the United Kingdom, the flamboyant and infamous son of “Mad” King George, took place on the 19th of July, 1821.

Coronation_of_George_IV Coronation of King George IV 19th July 1821 by James Stephanoff

The Coronation as painted by watercolourist James Stephanoff.

The new King had served as Prince Regent through the final years of the Napoleonic Wars as his father’s health had continued to decline, a period that was marked by great excess and frivolity amongst the upper classes.

Coronation_procession_of_his_majesty_George_the_Fourth,_19th_July,_1821_LCCN2002717331_tif Coronation procession of his majesty George the Fourth, 19th July, 1821.

The Coronation Procession winds its way through a park in London.

Though he married, George IV and his wife, Caroline, intensely disliked each other, and she was barred from attending the ceremonies.

Their only child, the Princess Charlotte, had died in childbirth in 1817, which eventually paved the way for the long reign of Queen Victoria.

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Reconciliation Day

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Today Canberra becomes the first place in Australia to host a public holiday for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Reconciliation Day replaces the Family and Community Day holiday, which replaced the Melbourne Cup holiday before that.

On this day: the Black Thursday Bushfires

William Strutt, Black Thursday, February 6th (detail), 1864. Australian Art. Bushfires.

As depicted by English-born artist William Strutt in 1864.

One of the worst bushfire disasters in recorded Australian history, the Black Thursday fires took place on the 6th of February, 1851, in the colony of Victoria.

Severe drought in 1850 helped to create the conditions ideal for bushfires. An estimated maximum temperature of 47 °C and strong winds on the day of the disaster magnified the situation.

It is believed the fire started when two bullock drivers left burning logs unattended.

The disaster claimed the lives of twelve people and many animals, and caused significant damage to the countryside.

On this day: the death of Frederic Leighton

1880_Frederic_Leighton_-_Self_portrait Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton PRA (3 December 1830 – 25 January 1896). English painter.

Self-portrait, 1880.

On the 25th of January, 1896, the bearer of the shortest-lived title in the history of the English peerage died aged sixty-five.

Famous painter and sculptor Frederic Leighton, known as 1st Baron Leighton at the time of his death, succumbed to angina pectoris only one day after being awarded the title.

Flaming_June,_by_Frederic_Lord_Leighton_(1830-1896) Flaming June, by Frederic Lord Leighton English Painting Art 1895.

One of his most famous works, Flaming June, painted the year before his death.

Leighton was also an enthusiastic volunteer soldier, and his funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral in London was accompanied by a guard of honour.

Winter 1916

Pow_Winter_Recreation_Art_IWMART17084 German Prisoners of War Recreation Alexandra Palace London 1916 First World War One

This painting, from the collection of the Imperial War Museum, shows German prisoners of war playing in the snow outside Alexandra Palace in London.

At the beginning of the First World War the area housed Belgian refugees, but as the war continued it was transformed into an internment camp for Germans and Austrians.