Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

'Unknown' Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait unveiled in Edinburgh

Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait is unveiled Image copyright PA

A portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie is to go on public display for the first time at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Experts said it was a rare opportunity to see the portrait on public display for a short period of time.

The portrait of the young prince is by the renowned Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera.

It had been held in a private collection, unknown to the general public, until it was auctioned in 2018.

Pastel on blue paper, the half-length portrait depicts the prince wearing the Order of the Garter.

The artwork was purchased by The Pininski Foundation, which has lent it for short-term display at the Chambers Street museum.

Image copyright Jane Barlow

Prince Charles Edward Stuart was 16 when it was painted. The work is believed to be the only portrait of him pre-dating the 1745 uprising which was not painted in Rome.

Carriera painted the prince in 1737 while he was in Venice on a tour of the major cities in central and northern Italy.

It is significant that the portrait was produced in Venice rather than Rome because it was not commissioned or supervised by his father, the exiled James VIII.

The artist was therefore free from James' undue influence and likely to be a more accurate representation.

The portrait was sent to King James in Rome, who at some point gifted it to one of his friends and supporters.

It remained in a private collection until it was auctioned last year.

The artwork goes on display from Thursday.

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