I am so proud to have published an article in the Jacobite Journal in which I showed how ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charlie, and ‘Butcher’ Cumberland have been hiding in a Hogarth painting for centuries!
This month is the tricentennial anniversary of the birth of Charles Edward Stuart – what a birthday present for the 300 year old prince.
There is also a link to Outlander, but first of all let us find ‘the butcher’!
Take a look at the central detail (below) in which a grenadier marches in step with his pregnant wife. They are assaulted by a Catholic woman, identified by her cross and priest-like robes. She attacks the couple with some verbal abuse and a Jacobite newspaper!
Another soldier seems to charge at her from behind and drive her back with his halberd. Although he is standing several yards behind the woman, Hogarth uses a trick of perspective to make it seem like he is running her through.
On closer inspection, this soldier’s swarthy face is similar to a portrait of the Duke of Cumberland which the protestant woman carries in her basket. It is covered by a copy of ‘God Save the King’, a reference to rumours of the Duke’s aspirations to rule.
Hogarth often employed such visual tricks (trompe l’oeil) to tell his stories. Notice how the artists darkened the place where the rolled-up newspaper seems to make contact with the soldier’s shoulder.
The publication’s full title – ‘The Remembrancer or weekly Slap in the Face of the Ministry’ had attacked the Duke in the year of the painting, by criticising his proposal for army discipline. The scene of rowdy soldiers begs for this necessary reform.
Incidentally, readers of this publication will know that a copy of ‘The Jacobite Journal’ falls out of this woman’s pocket. It was printed by Henry Fielding and the frontispiece was designed by William Hogarth.
This tiny detail of ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charlie conforms to first-account descriptions of the tall, slender good looking man. One person described his neck as ‘long, but not ungracefully so’,
Another commentator said he was ‘as straight as a lance’. He does look a little stiff in the painting. He certainly looks intent on his purpose as he marches through this rowdy rabble of soldiers who are abusing the local population.
Let us pan back to see more detail from the center of the painting. We see several soldiers stealing from the locals. One man kneels to help himself to the milkmaid’s bucket (pink tinge), while another assaults her (blue). He steals a kiss.
Another soldier (green) points all this out to a pie-man, and then steals from him in the process.
Hogarth was famous for including clever word games within his art. I wonder if he continued this line of thievery to our man (Jamie), who is stealing from the barrel, and the Prince who is ‘stealing away’.
Just around the side of the building, the viewer can see a barren tree (my blue marker). The oak was the symbol of the Jacobites. From his position, however, the Prince has no idea what is waiting for him ‘just around the corner’.
In the painting, the Prince purposely stares North (my red line). The Jacobite army was just 100 miles from London and was ready to attack. The highlanders had been issued gunpowder and were sharpening their Claymores! Outlander would have had a very different ending if they had attacked London!
Prince Charles believed he would be victorious and soon become King. In the painting, he passes a tavern sign that depicts his father’s uncle ‘Charles II’ (detail above, on the right). The Prince was confident that he would soon become ‘Charles III’.
Now for the Outlander link. I actually found the Prince with the help from the man standing behind him – his accomplice gestures to us without raising an alarm.
Indeed, with his red hair, this man could be Jamie himself, staring out at us from another time! Jamie does don a redcoat in Season 5.
This man has a ‘gimlet’ in his mouth which he has just used to pierce a hole in a passing barrel in order to steal some alcohol. His pointing was always interpreted as the finger-to-the-nose sign, as if to say ‘Don’t tell anyone I am stealing the Sassenach’s booze!’ In the Outlander series, Jamie knows that the Prince is eventually going to be defeated at the Battle of Culloden. We are given this same premonition in the painting.
I also find it interesting that the drunk British soldier who stands in front of ‘Jamie’ has his bayonet overlapping the Scotsman’s head (hinting at the Jacobite slaughter). His rifle is aiming at the man who arrives on a horse excited at the news of the Jacobite armies arrival. He raises his hat to the painting of Charles II, identifying himself as a Jacobite. The soldier’s gun is pointed towards his head with another hint of their imminent slaughter!
A new book on William Hogarth has uncovered many more clever hidden portraits within his work. Indeed, the author found that Hogarth himself had included his own face in several works. He has solved several pictorial riddles, several which include Jacobite connections and anti-French sentiment.
The author has also written a fascinating book on how the Jacobites practised a Scottish form of Freemasonry, (now known as ‘The Red Degrees’) to maintain secrecy. They also used it in an attempt to infiltrate the London Lodges and influence the English gentry.
This will be of interest to those reading Series 3 in which Jamie also uses Freemasonry to connect with fellow Masonic brothers. He incorporates the Square and Compass within his printing sign.