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Title James VIII
Alternative Title The Old Pretender
Collection Historic Scotland (Edinburgh Castle)
Artist Attributed to school of Belle, Alexis-Simon (French painter, 1674-1734)
Previously attributed to French School
Date Earliest possibly about 1706
Date Latest possibly about 1720
Description James VIII and III ('The Old Pretender') is depicted half-length, in profile, his head facing the viewer, in a painted feigned oval. As the only surviving son of the exiled James VII and II and his queen, Mary of Modena, he was raised in France after his father's deposition in 1688. This portrait shows him dressed in armour and blue sash, recalling his military campaigns to reclaim the British throne (1706, 1708, 1715), all of which were unsuccessful. The portrait may have been painted before his subsequent exile in Rome and his marriage to the Polish princess Maria Clementina Sobieska in 1719.
Current Accession Number EDIN078
Subject portrait (James VIII and III)
Measurements 76.0 x 62.5 cm cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Acquisition Details Purchased, possibly from Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, Edinburgh, date unknown.
Notes Back, uc: '194'; labels on back: lc, handwritten:
This very interesting old historical Portrait of James III commonly called the Chevalier de St. George, son of James II by his Queen Maria Beatrix (Mary of Modena) was purchased in England in a very dilapidated condition. Canvass and stretcher being quite rotten but the painting itself on the face of the canvass needing almost no restoration. It has been carefully relined to save it from further injury. This, its original old carved frame, was at one time covered with silver, that being a fashion in Italy about 1710. This portrait evidently represents the Old Pretender previous to his visit to Scotland in 1715.
Label on top stretcher: 'Doig, Wilson & Wheatley, Picture Dealers and Printsellers, Picture Restorers & Framers to His Majesty the King, 90 George Street, Edinburgh'.
Rights Owner Crown Copyright Historic Scotland
Author Dr Claudia Heide



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