Dr John Irwin, d. 1759. Physician to the Stuarts at Rome

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Dr John Irwin, d. 1759. Physician to the Stuarts at Rome 1739
  • Scottish Art
Dr Irwin was one of the physicians appointed to attend the Jacobite court in Rome and he was well-known in social circles there. Scottish architect Robert Adam met him about fifteen years after this portrait was painted and described him as: “a very sensible, clever old man of near eighty years who every day drinks his four or five bottles of wine, has a flow of spirits meet for forty years and does not look sixty.” This painting is one of several painted by Dupra of men who were closely associated with the Jacobites whilst they were in exile. As with the other paintings in this series, Dupra left an inscription on the back of the canvas giving the date and referencing the Jacobite cause.

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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.



  • Acc. No. PG 1598
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 62.90 x 48.50cm (framed: 71.60 x 57.10 x 7.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1953