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Prince Charles Edward Stuart

6 of 41 portraits of Prince Charles Edward Stuart

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, by Hugh Douglas Hamilton, circa 1785 -NPG 376 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Early Georgian Portraits Catalogue

Prince Charles Edward Stuart

by Hugh Douglas Hamilton
circa 1785
9 7/8 in. x 8 3/4 in. (251 mm x 222 mm) oval
NPG 376

This portraitback to top

A MS label removed from the stretcher in 1873, now in the picture dossier, reads: Carlos Eduardo Stuart/Pompeo Batoni Pinxet = Fioio de Espolio de S.M.T. a Snra, D. Carlota/Joaquina. One of three small portraits by the same hand, the others being of the sitter's wife, Louisa, Countess of Albany (q.v. NPG 377) and his brother Cardinal York (q.v. NPG 378). In considering the attribution of NPG 376, these must therefore also be taken into account. Scharf [1] attributed the portrait of Cardinal York to Rosalba to whom Charles sat, as indicated in the Stuart papers, when visiting Rome in 1737. There is, however, near-conclusive evidence that York is by Hamilton, while Rosalba's Charles, as lately discussed by F. J. B. Watson, [2] has now been identified as the pastel in a private collection in Rome. The appearance of the sitter in NPG 376 is far too late in life for 1737 and for Rosalba Carriera (1675-1757). An attribution to Pompeo Girolamo Batoni was accepted by Scharf [3] and NPG 376 so appeared up to the 1949 handlist. The Stuart Papers mentions this artist only as an unsatisfactory copyist of the portrait, c.1744, of Cardinal York holding a miniature of Charles by 'li due pitori Dupra'. [4] This date is again too early.
Further support for the attribution to Hamilton comes from the diary of Sir William Forbes, the banker. An entry dated Rome, 1792, mentions a recent visit to the house of Abbé Waters, major domo to Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, where he saw two small portraits of Charles Edward as an old man in a brown coat with Garter ribbon and of Henry Benedict done by 'Mr Hamilton'. [5] Hamilton was in Italy 1778-91; NPG 376 presumably dates from the last decade of Charles' life.
Versions of NPG 376 are in the Scottish NPG (622), in the collection of W. A. Baird of Lennoxlove, 1946, [6] and in the Dundee Art Gallery (47/12). A 30 x 25 in. version was lent to the 'Historical Portraits Exhibition', 1859 (63) by the Earl Fife, and there is another one at Townley Hall. A miniature of the same type painted on the lid of a snuff box is paired with a female sitter, said to be Charles' mother Maria Clementina Sobieska, but probably his wife Louisa, Countess of Albany. It was with Berry-Hill of New York in 1948.

Footnotesback to top

1) Sir George Scharf, Historical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures, Busts & etc. in the National Portrait Gallery, new and enlarged edition, 1888 p 491.
2) F. J. B. Watson, 'Two Venetian Portraits of the Young Pretender: Rosalba Carriera and Francesco Guardi', Burlington Magazine, CXI, 1969 p 333.
3) Sir George Scharf, Historical and Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures, Busts & etc. in the National Portrait Gallery, new and enlarged edition, 1888 p 100.
4) Extracts from the Stuart papers, Royal Archives, Windsor, II, p 27; III, pp 2-5, citing Charles to James Edgar, 25 May 1744.
5) Information B. Skinner, 5 May 1957.
6) Reproduced A. E. Haswell Miller, 'The Prince in Portraiture', SMT Magazine and Scottish Country Life, April 1946, p 24.

Physical descriptionback to top

Brown eyes, prominent curved nose, protruding lower lip, pale fleshy face, sagging muscles, grey wig with black ribbon, two rows of curls half covering his ears; white collar and shirt frill, russet coat and matching waistcoat, unbuttoned, Garter ribbon under coat; greyish-green background, lighter to the right; painted in an oval on a yellowish background.

Conservationback to top

Pin holes at corners; discoloured varnish; restored 1889.

Provenanceback to top

Purchased with NPG 377 (see Albany, Countess of) and NPG 378 (see York, Cardinal).

Exhibitionsback to top

'Royal Faces', Vancouver, 1968, and Birmingham, 1969 (27).


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.

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