portrait of james fitzjames duke of berwick c1690 studio of john michael wright

Portrait of James FitzJames, Duke of Berwick c.1690: Studio of John Michael Wright.



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Oil on canvas in a fine quality carved and giltwood reproduction 17th century frame.
JAMES FITZJAMES, 1st Duke of Berwick, 1st Duke of Fitz-James, 1st Duke of Liria and Jérica (21 August 1670 – 12 June 1734) was an Anglo-French military leader, illegitimate son of King James II of England by Arabella Churchill, sister of the 1st Duke of Marlborough.
His father was a recent convert to Catholicism and Fitzjames was schooled at a succession of Catholic colleges in France between 1677 and 1686. After his education he shuttled between Britain and the armies of the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, fighting in what is now Hungary and Austria.
Following his father’s accession to the throne, Fitzjames was made Duke of Berwick upon Tweed, and appointed Colonel of the 8th Regiment of Foot and the Royal Horse Guards. When Prince William of Orange landed in 1688 to seize the English throne, the 18-year-old Berwick fled to France, seeking refuge at the royal court of King Louis XIV.
Berwick served in James II’s unsuccessful campaign in Ireland, commanding the cavalry on the Jacobite right wing at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. He took temporary overall command of the Jacobite force until being recalled to France in January 1691. Berwick volunteered for service in the French campaign in the Low Countries, but was captured at Landen in 1693 by another of his uncles, George Churchill. In 1696, after his release from captivity, he secretly visited England for a week to foment a rising against William III.
After his first wife’s death, Berwick spent time touring Italy in 1698. He married again in 1700 and became a naturalised French subject in 1703. Berwick was appointed commander of the French force sent to Spain to assist Louis XIV’s grandson, Philip V. On his arrival in Spain in 1704, he was also made captain-general of Spain’s army and a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece.
In 1706 Berwick was made a Marshal of France and sent to Spain again, retaking Madrid and Lerida and inflicting a crushing defeat on Galway’s force at Almanza on the Spanish coast. A French cavalry assault destroyed or captured all but 5,000 of Galway’s 22,000-strong force. Philip V rewarded Berwick with two Spanish dukedoms before he left Spain to campaign in northern France.
Berwick found it difficult to co-operate with the French general Vendome and in 1709 he shifted theatre again, this time to France’s border with Piedmont and then to Flanders and Spain once again. In 1715 James II’s legitimate son, James Stuart, the ‘Old Pretender’, landed in Scotland, triggering the First Jacobite Rebellion. He appointed Berwick Captain-General of the Jacobite forces in Scotland. However, the French King forbade Berwick from taking up the post. Berwick campaigned one last time in Spain in 1719 but had largely fallen from favour in both the French and Jacobite courts. His final command was of the French forces sent across the Rhine in October 1733. Inspecting the siege works at Philippsburg, he was killed by a cannon ball on 12 June 1734.
JOHN MICHAEL WRIGHT (May 1617 – July 1694) Described variously as English and Scottish, Wright trained in Edinburgh under the Scots painter George Jamesone, and acquired a considerable reputation as an artist and scholar during a long sojourn in Rome. There he was admitted to the Accademia di San Luca. He took up permanent residence in England from 1656, and served as court painter before and after the English Restoration. A convert to Roman Catholicism, he was a favourite of the restored Stuart court, a client of both Charles II and James II. In the final years of the Stuart monarchy he returned to Rome.
SIZE: 50.5 x 41 inches inc. frame
PROVENANCE: *Collection of James H. Van Alen, New York.
*Private Collection, England.
Internal Ref: 8857

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