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Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766), Known as 'The Old Pretender'; son of James II

James Francis Edward Stuart, 'The Old Pretender'; only son of King James II; titular Prince of Wales, secretly conveyed, 1688, to France, with his mother Mary of Modena; on his father's death at St Germain, proclaimed King of England, 1701; attempted landings in Scotland in 1706 and 1708; fought with distinction on the French side at Oudenarde and Malplaquet; in 1715 landed at Peterhead but fled before Argyll to Montrose and returned to Bar-le-Duc; went to Madrid and Rome where he married, 1719, Princess Maria Clementina Sobieska; forfeited much support by his ill treatment of her; gave financial help to the '45; died in Rome.

'The figure of our young king' declared Count Anthony Hamilton, ‘might be chosen by a painter for the model of the God of Love, if such a deity could be mentioned in the severe court of St. Germain's'. [1]

Thomas Gray's account, in a letter to his father from Florence, 16 July 1740, is less flattering: ‘... he is a thin ill-made man, extremely tall and awkward, of a most unpromising countenance, a good deal resembling King James the Second, and has extremely the air and look of an idiot, particularly when he laughs or prays. The first he does not often, the latter continually'. [2]

Footnotesback to top

1) A. Shield and A. Lang, The King Over the Water, 1907, p 80.
2) Works, ed. E. Gosse, II, p 85.

Referencesback to top

Farquhar 1910
H. Farquhar, 'Portraiture of our Stuart Monarchs on their Coins and Medals', Part II, British Numismatic Journal, VI, 1910.

Levey 1964
M. Levey, The Later Italian Pictures in the Collection of her Majesty the Queen, 1964.

This extended catalogue entry is from the out-of-print National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue: John Kerslake, Early Georgian Portraits, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1977, and is as published then. For the most up-to-date details on individual Collection works, we recommend reading the information provided in the Search the Collection results on this website in parallel with this text.