About this artwork

This monumental painting marks the baptism of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, Stuart heir to the thrones of Great Britain and Ireland. The newborn baby was described as “large and well-made” and his birth on 31 December 1720, caused great rejoicing. Later that evening Charles was baptised in accordance with the rites of the Roman Catholic Church by the Bishop of Montefiascone, in the queen’s chapel in the royal palace. Pope Clement XI, the queen’s godfather, ordered the cannons of Castel Sant’Angelo to be fired, and Jacobites claimed that a new star had appeared in the sky. James commissioned this huge painting in 1725, the year Charles was rebaptised by the Pope and the year his second son, Henry, was born. Charles is shown in the arms of his first governess, Lady Misset.

Antonio David

Antonio David

Antonio David's most celebrated credential was as an official painter of the exiled Jacobite court in Rome. Painting in his homeland of Italy, David worked for the Stuart dynasty for nearly twenty years. Copies of his portraits were circulated to the family's supporters throughout Europe. Due to a previous wrangle over a bill, the artist insisted on being paid in advance for his renowned pair of portraits of Prince Charles Edward Stuart and his brother Prince Henry, painted in 1729. David also painted portraits of Scottish Jacobite supporters.