Teenage Bonnie Prince Charlie portrait goes on public display for first time in Edinburgh

The portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: Contributed
The portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie. Picture: Contributed
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A rediscovered portrait of a teenage Bonnie Prince Charlie is to go on public display in Scotland for the first time ever.

The National Museum of Scotland has secured a loan of a little-known painting Charles Edward Stuart sat for in Venice when he was just 16.

It is thought to have been disliked by his father because, the the prince looked unusually mature and confident for his age.

It is believed to have been given away to an aristocratic Italian family, who kept it for centuries, before selling it on more than 50 years ago.

It was snapped up at auction in New York after being spotted coming up for sale a Warsaw-based art historian, Peter Pininski, who claims to be a direct descendant of the prince.

The portrait, which will go on display at the Edinburgh attraction for a month from tomorrow, is said to be a rare accurate depiction of the young prince, which reflects the fact

Created by the Venetian artist Rosalba Carriera, it is believed to be the only portrait of the prince before the 1745 Jacobite Uprising which was no painted in Rome.

The National Museum is putting the portrait on display alongside the prince’s silver canteen of travelling cutlery and shield from tomorrow until May 27.

A spokeswoman said: “This is a rare opportunity to see the portrait on public display for a short period of time.

“Charles was 16 years old when it was painted and it 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.

“That the portrait was produced in Venice rather than Rome is significant because it was not commissioned or supervised by his father, the exiled James VIII, and therefore was free from James’ undue influence upon the artist 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 unknown to the general public until it was auctioned last year.”

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