"Shepherdess" (the Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald) C18th Mezzotint

Code: 11093

Dimensions:

H: 35.5cm (14")W: 25cm (9.8")

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"Shepherdess"
(A portrait of the Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald)

John Faber Junior (c.1684-1756) after Henry Pickering (c.1720–1770/71)
Mezzotint on paper
Circa 1747

Measures:-
35.5 cm x 25 cm (Plate)
46 cm x 35.2 cm (Framed)

A three-quarter length portrait of a young lady in a silk gown with ruched sleeves, a string of pearls beneath her bosom. Head tilted slightly left, shoulder length ringlets, flowers in her hair. The sitter is seated on a ledge and holds up the end of a swag of flowers in her right hand, the other hand placed upon her lap, a shepherd's crook resting across her knees. A lamb rests its head upon her knee to the left of the image. Rocky landscape with foliage beyond.

Lettered beneath the image "Heny. Pickering pinx." / "John Faber fecit." and, very faintly, "Printed, Pubd. & Sold by Faber at the Golden..."

This print was also issued in a state with the title "Shepherdess" and with verses beneath, slightly altered from Thomas Otway's "The History and Fall of Caius Marius" [1679] reading "As harmless as a Turtle of the Woods, As opining Flowers untainted yet Nth.[north] Winds, Fair as the Summer Beauty of the Field, The Pride of Nature, and the Joy of Sense" with the publication line "Printed for Robt. Sayer at the Golden Buck opposite Fetter Lane, Fleet Street".

Various scholars have concluded that this print is a portrait of the Scottish Jacobite heroine Mrs Flora MacDonald (1722-1790) who 'shepherded' the 'Young Pretender' Charles Edward Stuart to Skye during his escape from Scotland at the end of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 (following his defeat at the Battle of Culloden). Another mezzotint issued by Faber, after a painting by Thomas Hudson, explicitly shows Flora MacDonald and is titled as such. In that image, dated 1747, a very similar looking sitter, also in the guise of a shepherdess, gestures towards a miniature of Charles Edward Stuart held over a tartan plaid drapery with a rowing boat crossing water in the background. The well known portrait of Flora Macdonald by Allan Ramsay dating to 1749/50 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) bears a striking resemblance to the sitter here, and shows the Scottish heroine similarly decked with flowers (the white rose being a Jacobite symbol). The state with lines taken from Otway's "The History and Fall of Caius Marius" (a dramatised account of strife and civil war in Rome) adds further credibility to a Jacobite interpretation.

Very scarce, especially in this state. For a state without lettering see British Museum [1948,0410.344] and for an impression in the state with the poetic lines [1948,0410.345]; Scottish National Portrait Gallery [Blaike 15.16] or Lewis Walpole Library, Yale [Folio 75 P839 800 v. 3 (Oversize)]

Trimmed to the platemark. Laid to paper. Framed beneath ripple glass in an old Hogarth style frame. An old pencil annotation on the paper mount "CS No. 417" [corresponding to Chaloner Smith 417]. Losses to the gilt moulding of the frame. General foxing, commensurate with an authentic print of this age.

Literature:-
Walter Blaikie "Jacobite Prints and Broadsides", Scottish National Portrait Gallery "SNPG.15.16".

Chaloner Smith 417a i/ii

Lennox-Boyd ii/iv