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. Mezzotint prints were prepared on special thin paper which was then stuck down on one side of a piece of glass. The paper was then shaved down further, until it was extremely thin. It was then coloured from behing in oil paint giving the image a highly finished appearance with a distinctive glow resembling an oil paiting.
The mezzotint has been mounted to the glass in antiquity without publiction details so it resembles more a portrait - but see NPG D7937 and British Musseum 1902,1011.1329 and 1902,1011.1330 for unelaborate versions of the print with text beneath.
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