About this artwork

This portrait was probably commissioned by James's mother to mark his thirteenth birthday in 1701. This was a momentous year. The Act of Settlement was passed by the English parliament; this secured a Protestant succession by excluding all Catholic claimants and named Sophia, Electress of Hanover, as heir after Anne. In September, James VII and II died and Prince James was recognised as King of England, Scotland and Ireland by Louis XIV, the pope and several other Catholic rulers. De Troy was a favourite painter with the Jacobite court. With its exquisite rendering of plush velvet and silver thread, this is an appealing image of the boy prince whose good looks when young were a boon to the Jacobite cause.

Updated before 2020

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