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Portrait of King James II in Armor, Second Half 17th C
Period oil on canvas portrait depicting King James II in armor in long flowing wig. Painted in an oval border on rectangular canvas and mounted in an antique carved gilded frame (minor defects, back repainted). Unsigned. Canvas measures 30" by 25 1/4", the surface showing great age and crackling. Framed size 35 ½" x 30 3/4".
King James II of England and James VII of Scotland (1633-1701), second surviving son of King Charles I, was the last of the English Stuart kings and reigned only from 1685 to 1688. He was an unpopular king, largely because he was Catholic and strongly opposed by the Anglican Church. Opposition to his ascension as king began almost immediately and spawned two 1685 rebellions, Argyll’s Uprising and the Monmouth Rebellion, both of which were easily defeated. To discourage future rebellions James enlarged his standing army. When James’ wife gave birth to a son, James Francis Edward, in June, 1688, it ignited fears of a Catholic succession and Protestant nobles invited William of Orange, nephew and son-in-law to James, to come to England with an army. Despite having numerical superiority, James declined to attack the invading army and instead fled to France, where he was offered a palace and pension. Parliament declined to depose James, but declared that his flight amounted to an abdication and declared his daughter Mary as queen. Thus ended the "Glorious Revolution" and began the reign of William III and Mary. It would have far-reaching consequences, as both James’ son (the "Old Pretender") and grandson, Charles Edward Stuart (Bonnie Prince Charlie, or the "Young Pretender"), had legitimate claims to the throne which resulted in the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745. The last uprising ended in the resounding defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. It would be the last land battle fought on British soil.
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