Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue: Louisa

The following text is from the National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977 (now out of print). For the most up to date research on the Collection, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text. This can be accessed by following the link with each portrait’s title.

In consulting the following, please note that apart from the reformatting which allows the printed catalogue to be made available on-line the text is as published in 1977. Footnotes in the original edition are given within square brackets.

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Louisa Maria Theresa Stuart, Princess Louisa (1692-1712)
Daughter of James II, sister of 'The Old Pretender'; born in France; lived with her mother at St Germain where she died of smallpox.

1658 By an unknown artist
Oil on canvas, 29 5/8 x 24 3/8 in. (753 x 619 mm); long face, light brown eyebrows, mid-brown eyes, pointed chin, full lower lip, rouged(?) cheeks, brown hair dressed with flowers flowing on to her left shoulder and behind her back, a curl at each temple; bronze-coloured dress with corsage of pink and white carnations, blue mantle lined with white; background of dark sky and foliage. A label on the back of the stretcher gives the sitter's name and a stock number (?) 35368.

A similar picture is in the Scottish NPG (1216), purchased in 1934. A copy belonged to the late R. Gunnis and another owned, 1927, by M. Griffiths was stated to have been brought from France by the Rev. Rudolfus Taylor who accompanied James II to Versailles. The type has been attributed to de Troy but, so far, without documentary support. It is clearly of French origin.

Condition: flesh tints rubbed; slight retouchings in the face; pin losses at corners; now rectangular but possibly made up from an oval whose outline can still be faintly seen.

Collections: given, 1912, by G.H. Peck.

Literature: M. Roux, Inventaire du Fonds Français: Graveurs du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1940.

Iconography
The earliest type, after the Largillière of 1695 with her brother (see above, James, 'The Old Pretender',  NPG 976), is probably the portrait in a private collection in which she arranges flowers; she appears younger than in NPG 1658. Exhibited Aberdeen, 1859 (100), with a companion of her brother (82); both unattributed, they may be by the same hand, possibly F. de Troy. In a similar portrait from the Brocket collection, Sotheby's, 16 July 1952, lot 62, she holds a posy in her right hand against her left shoulder; the pose is repeated in an anonymous engraving of her at the age of nine. Another portrait, inscribed with the sitter's name, was lent to the ’NPE' 1867 (195) by P.H. Howard. A three-quarter length in which she plucks a sprig of orange blossom, at Sizergh Castle, Strickland collection, is attributed to H. Rigaud. The face is, however, similar to the engraving by Chéreau after A.S. Belle published in Paris. A miniature with the hair similarly dressed, framed as a pair with her brother, was sold at Sotheby's, 1 May 1958, lot 56, there described as Maria Clementina Sobieska.

Portraits of the 'Old Pretender' and his sister, exhibited by Belle in the Salon of 1704, were said to be the pair from which Chéreau, made his engravings [1] This would seem incorrect since the sitters look too old for 1704. A version of the portrait of James is inscribed 1714. A portrait corresponding with the engraving was in the collection, 1963, of Captain Robert Wolridge-Gordon of Esslemount, Aberdeenshire.

Note
1. Roux, IV (39, 44).