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Alexis-Simon Belle (Paris 1674-1734)
Alexis-Simon Belle (Paris 1674-1734)

Portrait of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender (1688-1766), half-length, in armour, with the sash of the Order of the Garter and the medal of the Order of the Thistle

Details
Alexis-Simon Belle (Paris 1674-1734)
Portrait of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Old Pretender (1688-1766), half-length, in armour, with the sash of the Order of the Garter and the medal of the Order of the Thistle
oil on canvas
31½ x 25 in. (80 x 63.5 cm.)
Provenance
Horatio William Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1813-1894) at Heckfield Place, by whom bequeathed to
Mrs. Colin Davy, and by descent.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, 28 March 1969, lot 109, as 'Hyacinth Rigaud' (850 gns. to Heim).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 15 July 1998, lot 38, as 'Attributed to Jean Baptiste Oudry' (£29,900).
with The Weiss Gallery, London, 1998.
with Philip Mould Ltd., London, 2005, as 'Antonio David'.
Literature
J. Kerslake, National Portrait Galery: Early Georgian Portraits, London, 1977, I, pp. 158 and 349, as 'closer to [Antonio] David'.
E. Corp, The Jacobites at Urbino: An exiled court in transition, New York, 2009, illustrated on the cover.
Exhibited
Southampton, Southampton Art Gallery and Winchester, Winchester College, Pictures from Hampshire Houses, 2 July-17 August 1955, no. 59, as 'Rigaud'.

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Harriet West
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Lot Essay

This portrait of the Old Pretender relates closely to one by the Scottish artist Antonio David, now in the collection of the Duchess of Alba (Madrid, Palacio de Liria). The type is the first to include both of the chief orders of England and Scotland, respectively the Order of the Garter and the Order of the Thistle, by which combined use the type can be dated to after the return of James Edward Stuart from his campaign in Scotland in 1716, when, out of gratitude to his Scottish supporters, he chose for the first time to display both orders together--a use which had not previously been permitted. A prolamation issued in Avignon in April 1716 decreed that the Thistle could now be worn with the Garter, but only below the sash--the fact that it is here worn above the sash has been argued to date the type to shortly before April 1716.

We are grateful to Edward Corp for confirming the attribution on the basis of photographs, and for suggesting a dating of 1718. Alexis-Simon Belle was the pre-eminent painter at the Jacobite court-in-exile at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, outside Paris, painting a series of portraits of James Edward Stuart between 1702 and 1718, the first a childhood portrait arranged by Belle's teacher, François de Troy. The present work formed part of the important collection of Stuart portraits assembled by the 4th Earl of Orford and bequeathed to Mrs. Colin Davy, which included the well-known portraits by Louis-Gabriel Blanchet of James Edward Stuart's sons, Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Young Pretender) and Henry Stuart (later Cardinal York; both London, National Portrait Gallery), purchased at the sale of the Duchess of Parma.

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