Monday, June 26, 2023

Flora Macdonald Painting

Over the course of our trip to Scotland, we explored several sites related to Bonnie Prince Charles and the Jacobites. Wandering through the Scottish National Portrait gallery, I came across a wing devoted to the Jacobite Cause. It included a portrait of Flora Macdonald. We had visited her grave while we were touring the Trotternish Peninsula.

Flora Macdonald Painting
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This painting is located at 1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Scotland in the Scottish National Portrait Galley. The GPS coordinates for this location are 55° 57' 20.4" N 3° 11' 35.5" W.

Flora Macdonald Flora Macdonald
Flora Macdoanld
by Richard Wilson
oil on canvas, painted in 1747

Flora Macdonald famously helped Prince Charles evade capture in the aftermath of his defeat at Culloden. With the prince disguised as her maid, they left Benbecula in a small boat just as the militia were closing in. Charles was eventually rescued by a French ship. Flora, meanwhile, was arrested and taken to London where she was placed under house-arrest until the general amnesty for Jacobite prisoners in July 1747. This portrait was painted for a young naval officer on the ship which took Flora south. Both he and his commander, Commodore Smith (an early patron of Wilson), made sure Flora was treated well. She became something of a celebrity in London, and this image explicitly identifies Flora - in her white beribboned tartan dress - as a Jacobite heroine.

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