Loyal exchange: the material and visual culture of Jacobite exile, c.1716 - c.1760
Vullinghs, Georgia Wilhelmina Muriel
By examining the material and visual culture of Jacobite exile between c.1716 and c.1760, this thesis looks more deeply into the exiled court of James VIII/III in Rome. Prompted by the theme of exile to consider less discussed elements of Jacobite history, namely the experiences of women, and the lives of Maria Clementina and Henry Benedict Stuart as members of the Stuart dynasty, the thesis offers alternative, though complementary, narratives to the dominant Jacobite histories. The artefacts discussed in this thesis are drawn largely from the rich collection of Jacobite objects at National Museums Scotland. The theme of exile provides the opportunity for a reconsideration of artefacts familiar to historians of Jacobitism – such as embroidery produced by Jacobite women – and offers scope for others – objects associated with Maria Clementina Sobieska for example – to be given more prominence in Jacobite studies. Additionally, the thesis makes sustained use of the Stuart Papers in the Royal Archives at Windsor: the letters and account books of the exiled court. These written sources enhance interpretation of extant Jacobite objects and the material experience of the Stuart court. Correspondence between Jacobites in Britain and the court in Rome illuminates the role of material culture in maintaining the affective relationship between exiled monarch and loyal subject that underpinned Jacobitism. Absent from his kingdoms and not performing the traditional functions of ruler, James VIII/III and his court used material culture to maintain the appearance of royalty in exile. Circulating images of the family, the exiled dynasty readied supporters for its eventual restoration and return. Rather than considering this use of material culture as unique to the exiled Stuarts, the thesis situates the court’s practices in the wider cultural context of early-modern monarchy. While absence is inherent to exile, the thesis proposes that presence is also an essential theme. Chapters one and two consider the notable presence of the expatriate Jacobite community in eighteenth-century Roman society in the context of British tourism, antiquarianism, and art networks. Case studies of Clementina Sobieska and Henry Benedict demonstrate how the Stuarts could become fully incorporated into Roman society without relinquishing their claims to the thrones of Britain, nor the loyalty of their supporters. Examining the artefacts Jacobite women produced and consumed in response to Stuart exile, this thesis argues that material culture worked affectively to make the Stuarts present for their loyal supporters in Britain. Overall, this thesis offers a cultural history of Jacobitism focussing on the theme of exile which serves to unite Jacobitism in Rome with Jacobitism in Britain. Furthermore, this is a history which emphasises emotions as a meaningful measure of loyalty to the Jacobite cause, rather than political/military actions and the subsequent success or failure of those actions. By situating the material and visual culture of Jacobite exile in a wider eighteenth-century British and European cultural context, rather than interpreting it as peripheral to mainstream eighteenth-century history, the thesis also contributes to the history of the Grand Tour, gender studies, the history of emotions, and court culture.