There was much more to it than mere growth in skills. Also required was an enormous amount of research. Many historic portraits of the prince exist, but as I read and studied, it became apparent that not all are as they claim. A number of these portraits of Prince Charles Edward Stuart are actually of his brother, Henry Benedict Stuart. At this point I had to learn to look through the artists' styles and recognize one brother from the other.
Further difficulties. I chose the setting for the Prince to be Edinburgh. Prince Charlie's residence in Edinburgh was a very brief window in time, the winter of 1745-46, so my representation of him needed to be very age-specific. The problem with that is, existing portraits that were truly of himself portrayed him as a youth and as an older man. None at this time existed that were painted in Scotland when he was there.
I fussed about with every bit of detail in this portrait, down to every symbol and every minutia - except for the Prince's face. I was sketching and guessing at what he may have looked like at age 24, and was afraid to commit that concept to paint. Great fortune in timing struck, however, when the discovery of a fantastic little Ramsay portrait painted from life of Prince Charles Edward Stuart hit the news earlier this year. This one was found hidden away in Edinburgh, and was indeed painted when the Prince was in Scotland. Although anything I could ever hope to produce could never in a million years come close to a Ramsay, at last I have an image of the Prince at 24 in Scotland from which to go by! In an odd coincidence, I had already painted the Prince's coat a pale blue and based it on the riding coat he wears in a statue depiction of him astride a horse.
With all the reading and research done in preparation for this commission, I had a lot of material from
I wanted this portrait not to have a dull expression as so many portraits do, but to be full of life and
|The candle's flame is only 7mm|
I'll include some closeup shots from this feather painting, so that you may see the details in these elements.
Very happy with the way the table came out. It's not easy to paint over the feather's quill.
There are far more hours invested in the painting of this feather than I care to count. I stopped counting after forty.