An oil on canvas purportedly depicting Prince James Francis Edward Stuart, by the
circle of Alexis-Simon Belle (1688-1766) after the similar portrait within the Royal Collection given to King George V by Queen Mary. Alexis-Simon Belle was a favourite of the Stuarts in Paris.
Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (1688-1766) was the only son of the Catholic King James II of England. In 1688, the Protestant-led 'Glorious Revolution' dethroned the king and replaced him with his Protestant daughter, Mary (1662-1694), and her husband William of Orange (1650-1702). Prince James and his father and mother went into exile at the Château Saint-Germain-en-Laye, under the protection of Louis XIV. Later known as the 'Old Pretender', James participated in several unsuccessful plots to reclaim the English throne. In 1712, he left France to establish a court in Rome, where he married Maria Clementina Sobieska (1702-1735). He had two sons: Charles (1720-1788) and Henry (1725-1807), but was never to see a Stuart restoration; the male line died with Henry Stuart in 1807.
The canvas of this work has been lined and the tension is good. The paint layers have a network of age cracks which have been stabilised and flattened through lining; there are old pin prick losses at the junctions of the cracks and areas of retouching across the surface. The varnish is clear and although a little matte with a layer of surface dirt present.
The work is housed in a later gilt frame which shows some light wear commensurate with age to the extremities but remains in a good condition overall.
A well executed and striking work.
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