The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

First Previous 6 OF 41 NextLast

Prince Charles Edward Stuart

6 of 41 portraits of Prince Charles Edward Stuart

© National Portrait Gallery, London

 Like voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Buy a greetings card Make a donation Close
  • Buy a print
  • Buy greetings card
  • Use this image
  • ShareShare this

Prince Charles Edward Stuart

by Hugh Douglas Hamilton
oil on canvas, circa 1785
9 7/8 in. x 8 3/4 in. (251 mm x 222 mm) oval
Purchased, 1873
Primary Collection
NPG 376

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

This portrait was painted by the Irish artist, Hugh Douglas Hamilton, while living in Rome. It depicts Bonnie Prince Charlie in old age, which he passed in rather pathetic retirement in Rome. He was described as of 'a melancholy, mortified appearence' by a visitor to Rome in 1770. The portrait is housed in a Roman neoclassical frame of a type associated with the artist. More detailed information on this portrait is available in a National Portrait Gallery collection catalogue, John Kerslake's Early Georgian Portraits (1977, out of print).

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Cullen, Fintan, The Irish Face: Redefining the Irish Portrait, 2004, p. 88
  • Kerslake, John, Early Georgian Portraits, 1977, p. 40
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 118
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 164 Read entry

    Carved and gilt poplar(?), mitred lap joints with wooden dowels, yellow ochred on the reverse, impression of old, perhaps original, hanging fixture on reverse at top centre, the pine spandrels coated with gesso on reverse. 1 7⁄ 8 inches wide including spandrel at its narrowest.

    The Dublin-born portrait painter, Hugh Douglas Hamilton, used three distinctive frame types for his small-scale oval portraits, each of which can be more or less closely associated with a different period of his life and a different city: London from about 1763 to 1779, Rome from 1779 to 1791 (including a few years in Florence), and Dublin again from 1792.

    In London, where he had a very successful business drawing small oval portraits in pastels, he used a gadrooned oval frame with pearl sight, a common enough frame type for such portraits; among numerous dated examples of the early and mid-1770s are portraits of Lady Temple, dated 1770, and Samuel Ireland, dated 1776, in the National Portrait Gallery. By 1778 a husk top edge replaced the gadrooning on some of his frames.

    In Italy Hamilton branched out into oil painting and large-scale pastels. Of his small portraits of this period the rectangular frame on this oval-format portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie is typical: angular teeth inside a flat top edge, and inner spandrels with prominent rosettes on punched panels set within a string-and-pearl surround. This pattern is also found on the portrait of the Prince in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and on various other Roman portraits by Hamilton, including dated paintings of 1787, 1789 and 1790. Somewhat similar frames are occasionally found on the work of other portrait painters of the period in Rome. A receipt for three frames for the Duchess of Albany suggests that Lorenzo Dolci may have been Hamilton's framemaker in 1785).1

    In Dublin Hamilton reverted to an oval frame type with a husk top edge and pearl sight for the portraits he drew in 1793 and 1794 before abandoning small pastels altogether for life-size oils.

    1 Royal Archives, Windsor, RA SP 510/157, dated 23 September 1785. The receipt is on reverse of a note by Hamilton: 'Mr Hamiltons Compliments to Mr Stuart, the Bearer of the foreman of Sig4 Dolci the Carver of the frames intended for the Duchess of Albany they are very well executed. Friday morn' (quoted by gracious permission of Her Majesty the Queen).

Subjects & Themesback to top

Events of 1785back to top

Current affairs

George Prince of Wales secretly marries his mistress Maria Fitzherbert in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act of 1772.
Prime Minister William Pitt introduces a bill proposing parliamentary reform and the abolition of 'rotten boroughs' but is defeated.

Art and science

William Cowper publishes his best -known poem The Task.
James Boswell publishes The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides, narrating his travels with the late writer Samuel Johnson.
Physician and naturalist James Hutton presents his studies of local rocks to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, launching the era of scientific geology.


Warren Hastings resigns as Governor-General of Bengal and returns to England. His trial begins on charges of corruption in the administration of India.
French sculptor Jean Antoine Houdon crosses the Atlantic to sculpt a statue of George Washington.
British government establishes a permanent land force in the Eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.


Become a Member

Enjoy access to special events, discounts on the Gallery online shop, supporters’ updates and much more

Join today

Get social

Bringing people together by sharing the portraits and stories of the men and women who have shaped our nation.

Facebook Instagram Twitter


Sign up to receive information on exhibitions, collections and activities of the National Portrait Gallery, including special offers, shop products, and exclusive competitions.

Sign up