BSECS Conference 6-8 January 2016, St Hugh’s College, Oxford


Yale Scotch Female Gallantry

14.00-15.30 Panel 12 – The Visual and Material Culture of the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. Chair: Dr Viccy Coltman

This panel focuses on the visual and material culture, both Hanoverian and Jacobite, which was created before, during and after the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. It aims to deal with broad issues, such as identity and nationhood, while offering close readings of a variety of objects: from portraiture and graphic satire, to medals, dice and pipe stoppers. The papers will build on the wealth of recent historical and literary scholarship (particularly in the field of Jacobite Material Culture) by showcasing new research and approaches from an Art Historical perspective.

Paper: Jacqueline Riding ‘The True Contrast: the changing image of Charles Edward Stuart, 1745-1746’

From the time of his birth in 1720, the pictorial representation of Charles Edward Stuart, Jacobite Prince of Wales and heir apparent, was very carefully managed. Until his attempt to seize the throne of Great Britain in 1745-6, he was invariably depicted, in oil and engraving, using the standard pictorial models of European monarchy: never, that is, in tartan. During the ’45, when, for the first time, he was in complete control of his own image, the prince carefully alternated his appearance, from that of a tartan-clad Highland Chief, to a fashionably dressed European or, more specifically, British prince, thus treading a symbolic line between the expectations of his predominantly Highland army, and the need to appeal to the majority of his British ‘subjects’, many of whom (Lowlanders and English alike) considered the Highlander (as represented through tartan plaid) a barbaric anachronism. In this sense, the rediscovered portrait by Allan Ramsay, which was commissioned by the prince in the October of 1745 while Charles held court at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, and painted just prior to his advance into England, can be seen as both a statement of Charles’ self-image, while symbolising his broader dynastic ambitions. Crucially this image was swiftly engraved and then circulated.

The prince’s enemies, meanwhile, generated images of him that aimed to undermine the legitimacy of his claims and win over popular opinion, by exaggerating his otherness: stressing, on the one hand, his birth and upbringing in Rome as a Roman Catholic and, on the other, his widely-reported wearing of Highland garb, most famously the ‘wanted poster’ accompanying the £30,000 bounty issued by the British government. The engraving ‘Scotch Female Gallantry’ (above), depicting Charles surrounded by ecstatic women at an evening entertainment, even attempts to equate the prince with another unmanly Italian import (as the anti-Jacobite propagandists would argue), the Castrato.

This paper will begin by presenting close readings of these three key images, all produced during the early stages of the ’45. It will consider how, as a group, they reflect a very particular moment during the campaign, when the outcome of the rebellion was very far from certain. Finally, it will look at how these ‘prototypes’, the British Hero, the Highland Laddie and the Effeminate Italian, informed representations of Charles in the aftermath of Culloden, including the pro-Cumberland print, ‘The True Contrast’.

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