Hugh Douglas Hamilton

Prince Charles Edward Stuart, 1720 - 1788. Eldest son of Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (About 1785)

About this artwork

After the defeat of the Jacobite forces at Culloden in 1746 and the prince’s subsequent flight to France, Charles repeatedly tried to rally French support for an invasion on English soil. Despite his father’s pleas, French support never materialised and the Young Pretender was eventually expelled. After years of moving around the continent, in 1774 Charles and his young wife Louisa settled in Florence. By this time he was depressed, abusive and suffering from drink-related ill health. Charles and Louisa separated in 1784, and that same year Charles legitimised his daughter Charlotte by his mistress, and recognised her as his heir. This portrait was painted in Rome during the last years of the sitter's life. At this time Hamilton also portrayed Charles’s daughter in a similar format.

Hugh Douglas Hamilton

Hugh Douglas Hamilton

Douglas Hamilton was born in Dublin, the son of a wig maker. He trained at the Dublin Society School of Drawing under Robert West. After leaving the academy, Hamilton set up his business as a portraitist, painting small, oval portraits in pastel – or crayon as it was known. His relocation to London by the early 1760s brought commissions from the royal family, and in 1779 he was sufficiently wealthy to move to Italy with his wife and daughter. During his time in Rome he started painting large-scale history scenes in oil, in the popular neoclassical style. After his return to Ireland in 1792 he was widely regarded as the best portraitist in Dublin and was never short of work. From 1804 onwards he painted few works, and after his death some of his late portraits were finished by his daughter.