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James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales (1688-1766) - the Old Pretender, in armour and blue sash of the Garter

8.6 cm (3 1/2")
James was the son of King James II and his second wife Mary of Modena. His Catholic father was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688 only months after his birth, and his Protestant older half-sister Mary II and her husband William III became co-monarchs. The Bill of Rights 1689 and Act of Succession 1701 excluded Catholics from the British throne, and James was raised in exile.

After his father's death in 1701, James claimed the English, Scottish and Irish thrones as James III of England and Ireland and James VIII of Scotland, in which he was supported by his Jacobite followers and his cousin Louis XIV of France. In 1715, he unsuccessfully attempted to gain power in Britain during the Jacobite rising of 1715.

On 3 September 1719, James married Maria Clementina Sobieska (1702-1735), granddaughter of King John III Sobieski of Poland. By his wife he had two sons:
Charles Edward Stuart (31 December 1720 - 31 January 1788), nicknamed "Bonnie Prince Charlie" and Henry Benedict Stuart (11 March 1725 - 13 July 1807), a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

The miniature bears a strong resemblance to the example by Belle in the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj painted in 1702. Belle moved in 1701 to Saint-Germain-en-Laye where he worked for the English and Scottish court. He painted at least ten portraits of King James III and VIII, as well as others of his parents and his sister Princess Louise-Marie. Other portraits of James by Belle can be seen in Pesaro, at the Oratorio di San Giuseppe in Urbino, and at the Hôtel Charost and the Scots College in Paris.

By 1702 war had broken out between Great Britain and France and Belle and his wife Anne Marie were busy producing portraits of the exiled Stuart, many of which were smuggled by loyal supporters across the English channel. Miniatures and larger portraits of the exiled King were vital part of keeping the Stuart case alive. Miniatures like the present oil were valued for the ease with which they could be dispatched to followers across Europe or smuggled back to Britain. The frame in which it is housed indicates that this little portraits was meant to be hung up for all to see (rather than secreted away inside a box or case) to acknowledge the political support that the owner had for James.

An inscription on the reverse of the miniature (written by J.E. Hodkgin) states that according to Sir Robert Affleck, who sold this miniature in 1904, this miniature has hung at Dalham Hall since the time it was painted. Sir Robert Affleck's ancestor, John Affleck acquired Dalham estate from Simon Patrick, the Bishop of Chichester and Bishop of Ely in 1714. After remaining in Affleck's family for nearly 200 years, in 1901, the estate was bought by Cecil Rhodes. In 1981 the hall was sold to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. After the major died in 1984, the estate was held in trust by his heirs until July 2009, when it was sold for £45 million to Sheikh Mohammed.
8.6 cm (3 1/2")
More Information
Year                 circa 1702.
Medium                 Oil,
Signed                 The miniature bears a strong resemblance to the example by Belle in the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj painted in 1702
Provenance                 Sir Robert Affleck Bt., Dalham Hall, Newmarket, sale 1904
J.E Hodgkin Collection, Sotheby's 1914 (John Eliot Hodgkin (1829-1912) was an engineer and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society of London)
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