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  • John Smith
Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, 1688 - 1766. Son of James VII and II
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Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, 1688 - 1766. Son of James VII and II 1668

On Display PORTRAIT GALLERY

  • Scottish Art
Based on Kneller’s 1688 painting, this image presents the infant James swathed in regal ermine with the closed crown of a royal prince above his head. Mezzotint (then a relatively new printmaking technique) produces deep, velvety black tones, and is used here to create a sense of richly textured opulence. The print is not dated, but it was made before the Stuarts went into exile and remained widely available in Britain in the following years. Although Kneller was not a Jacobite, we cannot make assumptions about the loyalties of the printmaker. One of the most highly-regarded and successful of English engravers, Smith later travelled to France to copy Largillière’s double portrait of the prince and his sister, but he also produced portraits of the rival dynasty back in England.

Glossary Open

Engraving

The printmaking technique in which an image is inscribed on a copper plate with a tool that cuts a groove in the surface. This groove holds the ink that creates the print when it is applied to paper. Also refers to the method of making an incision on a material such as glass.

Jacobite

Jacobitism was a movement to restore the descendants of the Stuart King James VII and II to the British throne. The first claimant, Prince James Francis Edward (known as 'the Old Pretender') was exiled first in France, then Italy, from where he planned unsuccessful attempts to claim the throne. His son Prince Charles Edward (known as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie' or 'the Young Pretender') famously invaded Britain in 1745, but after some military successes was finally defeated at Culloden in 1746.

Mezzotint

Mezzotint is a method of producing prints that was developed in the seventeenth century. A metal printing plate is roughened by scratching a tool across the surface to leave an even burr. When ink is applied to the plate, the burr holds it, and if a sheet in this state is printed at this stage, the resulting impression is entirely black. An image is created by smoothing parts of the abraded surface so that when ink is applied, the smoother areas do not have such a strong ink-holding capacity, and therefore do no leave such a dark impression. A mezzotint printmaker, therefore, works from dark to create light. Mezzotint produces high quality prints, as it allows for fine and subtle tones to be developed.

Engraving, Jacobite, Mezzotint

Details

  • Acc. No. SP IV 126.21
  • Medium Mezzotint on paper
  • Size 13.25 x 10.13 in; 33.70 x 25.70 cm
  • Credit Given by Sir William Fettes Douglas 1888