But James never surrendered his claim to the British throne. Thus began a political and military struggle which lasted until the mid-18th century as the Stuart dynasty sought to grab back the nation they had been expelled from.
The strongholds of Jacobitism were the Scottish Highlands, Ireland and Northern England, places as distant from Parliament and the royal residences in London as possible. Therefore whenever King James or his family returned, it was always via Scotland, Ireland or Northern England.
Bonnie Prince Charles in 1745
Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh
The most famous event in this long but episodic struggle occurred in 1745 when James II’s grandson, Bonnie Prince Charlie, led an armed invasion of Scotland and England. Charles' Jacobite army, which consisted largely of Scottish Highlanders, was defeated at the bloody Battle of Culloden in Scotland. No Jacobite uprising was ever attempted again.
Throughout the years of struggle in exile, the Stuarts continued to have many supporters in England and Scotland. Such support was naturally seen as treasonous by the ruling Georgians. So the Jacobites, the people who supported the son and grandson of ex-King James II, had to be very cautious about who knew their true allegiances. An elaborate system of symbolic practices was devised, hidden except from other Jacobite supporters.
Consider Jacobite wine glasses. Apart from the special engraving, Jacobite glasses look very similar to other wine and liqueur glasses of that period: mostly the viewer seens an elegantly simple shape on a long slim stem, often with an interesting element inside the stem. Stuart roses and Scottish thistles were often part of the engraved decorative scheme.
And another symbol. For the Jacobites, the identification of whiggery with the Rump Parliament, which had been fairly common in the 1680s, returned after 1715 for a new generation. As the Rump Parliament had killed a Stuart king in 1649, the cry Down With the Rump can be read as a call for a second Stuart restoration (see Monod, Jacobitism and the English People). I have seen a couple of Jacobite glasses with the words Down with the Rump, etched above the Stuart oak leaves and a budded rose.
And many historians talk of the Jacobite ritual involving passing the glass over a fingerbowl (full of water for diners to wash their fingers) before drinking. This was a reminder of the king over the water, in France.
King Over The Water wine glass
c1750, 15 cm tall,
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
The National Museums of Scotland display subversive Amen glasses, called that because they were inscribed with verses from the Jacobite version of the National Anthem, which ended in the word Amen. The bowl of this 1750 example has a crown over the letters JR which are intertwined with the figure 8, a reference to King James VIII of Scotland.
Ian McKenzie and Geoffrey Seddon believe the most likely artist of the Amen glasses was the famous Scottish line engraver Sir Robert Strange. Most of the extant Amen glasses were engraved over the very short period in the 1740s, using a diamond point. Strange’s life (his marriage to an ardent Jacobite, his period of service in Prince Charles's army in the ’45 rebellion; his life in Edinburgh and his period in France) fitted the profile of the Amen glasses perfectly.
Some Jacobites were prepared to die for the cause while other families were prepared only to do the drinking part of the Jacobite ritual. Since the foot of the Amen glass in the photo is engraved with the words 'To the Prosperity of the Family of Lochiell', we know it belonged to the Fighting Camerons of Locheil, ardent Jacobites who definitely fought at Culloden. Nonetheless it has to be recognised that just having glasses with Bonnie Prince Charles images was, in and of itself, very dangerous.
c1750, 18 cm high.
National Museum of Scotland
The National Gallery of Victoria has a special exhibition of Jacobite glassware called Kings Over the Water, examining the practice of drinking toasts to their true king in France. The beautifully engraved glasses sometimes depicted a body of water, literally reflecting the English Channel, over which a raised drink saluted the old king and his dynasty. The NGV has put on the Kings Over The Water exhibition until June 2013, to explore the secret symbolism of these beautiful objects and to analyse a doomed political adventure whose history was seen as both romantic and tragic.
Since these glasses were passed around in secret societies devoted to the restoration of a Catholic monarch in all of Britain, we can expect they are now rare and expensive. Of the 37 glasses that are known to have survived, one fetched £43,000/Aus $68,000/USA $72,000 at Shrewsbury auction in Nov 2012.
I need to mention a 2005 exhibition called The Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Royal House of Stuart: works of Art from the Drambuie Collection in London. These Jacobite paintings and works of art consisted of 100+ works that included engraved glassware, grand court portraits, miniatures, silver and gold medals and ceramics. All of the works were, as you would expect, either small or easy to conceal, or featured symbolic designs and intentionally obscure inscriptions.
Mary Miers (Country Life, 15th Sept 2005) added one more consideration. The exiled Stuarts THEMSELVES patronised some of the finest court artists in Europe, creating portraits that were then copied by leading engravers and widely circulated among supporters. The exiled Stuart court actively became the centre of an elaborate cultural web from which emanated highly sophisticated works of art. The royals clearly wanted to keep hope alive among their passionately loyal supporters back in Britain.
Scottish basket hilted sword
with Jacobite inscription
The exhibition How Glasgow Flourished is on at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery Glasgow until August 2014. The exhibition Imagining Power: the Visual Culture of the Jacobite Cause is on at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh until the last day of 2015.