Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) 1692

Jacques-Antoine Arlaud, attributed to (1668-1743)

Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766), Jacques-Antoine Arlaud, attributed to
Watercolour & bodycolour on card
17th Century
7 inches 17.8 cm high
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In 1688 Jacques-Antoine Arlaud left Geneva where he is believed to have been a law student and established himself as a miniaturist in Paris. He swiftly attracted the attention of the French court, and consequently that of the newly-arrived Jacobites.

The favour in which he was held is shown by the fact that he was clearly chosen to produce at least two images of the exiled king's heir, Prince James Francis Edward. A later portrait shows the Prince at the age of fourteen in 1702. This example is one of three known variants from an earlier sitting. In a composition related to a similar head study in the Royal Collection and a second example (Bonhams 1992), the Prince is shown as he appeared when he entered the (Jacobite) Order of the Garter at the age of four. The Prince''s features are based in these examples, as in all miniatures of the 1690s, upon an original portrait by Largiliere. The more elaborate Garter ceremonial was dispensed with because, as his father James II drily observed, St George's Chapel Windsor was unavailable. It is most likely that the garden seen in the background is that of the exiles' Royal Palace at St Germain-en-Laye.

The remarkable size and quality of the execution suggest that this was a gift to or commissioned by a particularly favoured Jacobite courtier or emissary. Royal majesty is expressed not only by the portrayal of the Prince in the full robes of the Order of the Garter against a rich background of curtain and Turkish carpet, but by the conspicuous placing upon the table of the coronet of the Prince of Wales. This dynastic icon was plainly executed as a gift to or as a commission by a prominent and favoured member of the Jacobite Court, or, perhaps, for a member of the French Court, as a token of the legitmacy and authority of the true royal line.

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