His Highness William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-1765)
George II period reverse mezzotint on glass, circa 1730
Published by John Faber Jr. (1695-1756), after a portrait by Joseph Highmore (1692-1780)
In an 18th Century gilded frame
Dimensions: 28.8 cm x 23.2 cm (glass plate)
Portrait as a boy, three-quarter length in profile to right, gesturing ahead and looking towards the viewer, hair loose over shoulders, chain around neck, wearing Garter robes attached at the shoulders with a bow, embroidered jacket beneath with ruffed shirt cuffs at the wrist, ostrich plumed hat on the table to the left, monuments and arches behind.
Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland was the third and youngest son of King George II. He was tutored by Edmund Halley and was prepared for a life in the military from an early age. The original portrait by Highmore was made in 1730 to commemorate his elevation to a Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter at the age of 9. The print by Faber was circulated after this event.
The Duke of Cumberland is generally remembered for his leading the force which defeated the Jacobite rebells at the Battle of Culloden in April 1746.
Reverse Glass Mezzotints were popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries. In preperation for the manufacture of these, mezzotint prints were produced on especially thin paper which was then stuck down on one side of a sheet of glass. The paper was then shaved down even further and then the image was coloured from behind with oil paint, giving the picture a highly finished appearance, with a distinctive glow, which resembles more an oil painting than a print.
This mezzotint has been mounted in antiquity without publiction details so it resembles even more a reduced size oil portrait - see NPG D7937 and British Museum 1902,1011.1329 or 1902,1011.1330 for unelaborate versions of the print with the text beneath.
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