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Stone handaxe
THIS small handaxe is one of the most beautiful in the British Museum. It is made from quartz with attractive amethyst banding, a difficult material from which to make tools because it is extremely hard. The toolmaker would have had to hit with considerable force and accuracy to remove flakes. Such a high degree of difficulty makes the thin, symmetrical shape of this piece a masterpiece of the toolmakers’ art.
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George I and George II (1714 - 1760)
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George I and George II (1714 - 1760)GEORGE I (1714-27)
THE 1701 ACT OF SETTLEMENT declared that Queen Anne's heir should be Sophia, Electress of Hanover and granddaughter of James I. When first Sophia, and then Queen Anne, died in 1714, Sophia's son George Lewis (born in 1660) became King of Great Britain. The change of dynasty passed surprisingly peacefully and George arrived in his new kingdom a month later.

Although a German who spoke to his ministers in French, George was Protestant - a condition of the
Act of Settlement. Fair, with froglike eyes, and saying little in any language, he left government to politicians -a crucial constitutional development, for George's most trusted minister, Sir Robert Walpole, became the country's first 'Prime Minister'. A pro- Stuart rebellion in Scotland was put down in 1715, while in 1720 came a financial crisis - the crash of the South Sea Bubble.

'I hate all boets and bainters.' Attributed to George I - his views on the arts

'That is one big lie.' George II, on hearing from Walpole that his father was dead

KING AT WAR
George II was 61 when he fought at Dettingen on 27 June 1743. Leading an army of British, Hanoverians, Hessians and Dutch against the French, the king declared as cannon balls whizzed over his head: 'Don't tell me of danger ... Now boys, now for the honour of England. Fire and behave brave, and the French will run.'


George's personal life was less than admirable-he divorced and locked up his wife Sophia Dorothea, kept two German mistresses and quarrelled with his son. Yet he liked music, brought Handel to England and displayed interest in agricultural 'improvements' - asking, for example, whether it would be economical to plant St James's Park with turnips. Much preferring Hanover to London, he died on the way to Germany in 1727, having been taken ill in his coach.

GEORGE II (1727-60)
George II has been called many names - self-important, fussy, hardworking, skirt-chasing - and gave rise to many stories. Thirty when his father arrived in England in 1714, the prince and his wife - beautiful, intelligent and flirtatious Caroline of Anspach - set up a rival court where cards and dancing were enjoyed out of the king's sight. Tall, with blue eyes and a ruddy face, George II loved military uniforms as much as he despised his father (who had, after all, locked up his mother).

A time of peace and prosperity, George H's reign was the heyday of the English aristocracy, whose great houses and parks studded the land. George made friends with the owners, declaring stoutly: 'I have not one drop of blood in my veins that is not English.' Wily Prime Minister Walpole knew the way to the king was through the queen, commenting that he had 'the right sow by the ear'.

Gaining the throne at the age of 44, George II - a brave man - was the last king to lead British troops into battle, at Dettingen in 1743. Two years later, the Hanoverian monarchy survived the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.

Heartbroken when Queen Caroline died in 1737, the king grieved less at the death of his son 'Fred' in 1751, for the two quarrelled violently whenever they met. George reigned on alone, dying (in the lavatory) in 1760, of a heart attack.

WHIG IN A WIG
George I put his trust in Walpole's Whig party, fearing the Tories were Jacobite sympathizers. In truth, there was little difference between the two parties, each composed of aristocratic landowners.

George I and George II (1714 - 1760)


HAVE YOU HEARD THIS ONE, BISHOP?
Sir Robert Walpole and his Cabinet - the shocked expression of the bishop (right) suggests that the wily First Lord of the Treasury might be telling one of the bawdy stories for which he was notorious.

George I and George II (1714 - 1760)


GEORGE THE GENERAL
George II on horseback, with his army in the background. His victory over the French at Dettingen in Bavaria (27 June 1743) was the last battle in which a reigning British monarch took part.

George I and George II (1714 - 1760)




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