Prince Charles Edward Stuart, 1720 - 1788. (About 1747)

About this artwork

“He has a handsome face and good eyes; I think his busts, which about this time were commonly sold in London, are more like him than any of his pictures.” This was the verdict of Dr William King, an English Jacobite who entertained Charles for tea during his secret visit to London in 1750. Dr King’s servant recognised the incognito prince, having seen “the busts which are sold on Red Lion Street”. The bust, originally modelled in clay by the leading French sculptor Lemoyne, was commissioned by Charles who paid for numerous plaster casts to be taken from it. The most naturalistic of all the portraits of the prince, it uses none of the signs or symbols of royalty and is his only sculpted image.

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne

Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne

The sculptor, Lemoyne was among the greatest French portraitists. He was the pupil of his father, Jean-Louis Lemoyne. Lemoyne’s more important works have mostly been destroyed or have disappeared, some during the French Revolution. He created an important series of portrait busts and among them those of women are perhaps the best. These include one of Madame de Pompadour. He is also the only artist to have sculpted Prince Charles Edward Stuart.