Help us bring the exiled Royal House of Stuart back to Scotland for an iconic exhibition.
We need your help to bring previously unseen portraits of the exiled Stuart dynasty back to Scotland for an exhibition at the West Highlands Museum.
Located in Lochaber, known as the ‘cradle’ of the 1745 Jacobite Rising, our museum is famous for our Jacobite collection, and to celebrate our 100th birthday in 2022 we want to bring a collection of 13 portraits of the Stuart family, some of which have never before been displayed in the UK, back home to the West Highlands for an exhibition.
The Stuarts ruled Scotland from 1371 and were the first monarchs to rule England and Scotland from 1603, with James VI of Scotland succeeding to the English throne after Elizabeth I’s death. In 1688 James VII (II of England) was deposed in the 'Glorious Revolution' and fled into exile to France where he established his court in exile at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, a few miles to the west of Paris. His supporters were known as Jacobites (after Jacobus, the Latin for James) and over the next century several unsuccessful attempts were made by the Jacobites to restore James’ heirs to the throne.
James' grandson Prince Charles Edward Stuart instigated the most famous Rising in August 1745. He landed here in Lochaber in the West Highlands and rallied the Jacobite clans. The Jacobites occupied Edinburgh, where the Prince held a magnificent ball at Holyroodhouse to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Prestonpans, before his army moved south and invaded England. In December 1745, they reached as far south as Derby and it is said that the Hanoverian monarch, George II was preparing to flee London. However, the Prince was persuaded to retreat to Scotland where at Culloden Moor the final battle of the Jacobite Risings was fought in April 1746. The Jacobite Army was defeated and the Prince became a fugitive, famously hiding in the Highland lochs and glens from Government troops who were in hot pursuit. In September 1746 he escaped to France and the legend of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Highland adventure was born.
Our exhibition will feature the newly discovered Rosalba Carriera portrait of the Prince painted in Venice in 1737. Carriera is one of the most successful female artists of any era and is renowned for her portraiture, particularly her pastel work. This portrait of the young Prince was rediscovered in 2018 and exhibited briefly at National Museums Scotland in 2019. Unless this crowdfunding campaign is successful, this iconic portrait and others in this collection may never be displayed in the UK again as they could soon be on permanent loan to a European museum.
The exhibition will also include 13 paintings of four generations of the Royal House of Stuart, including James VIII and III (known to the Hanoverians as the Old Pretender) and his wife Princess Clementina Sobieska, through to Prince Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) and his daughter Charlotte, Duchess of Albany. The series of paintings ends with Charlotte’s daughter Princess Marie Victorie de Rohan.
The paintings come from the Pininski Foundation, Liechtenstein, who care for this important private collection of fine art and the costs will cover transportation from Europe, installation and interpretation.
With your help we can bring Bonnie Prince Charlie and his family back home to Scotland for this iconic exhibition in August 2022.