Outlander Season 2 was my favourite! Claire wore ‘That Red Dress’ and Jamie got bitten by a French whore! It all happened in Paris where they joined Prince Charles Edward Stuart – the leader of the Jacobites.
The Prince has been recently discovered within a painting from 1750. A tiny portrait of him had been hidden for nearly 300 years! He was possibly overlooked because he was disguised as a redcoat, spying on the British camp.
You can easily find him, because he is being pointed out by his accomplice who 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!’
There is another clue that this is a curly, red-haired Scotsman stealing alcohol from the English! The artist has positioned another soldier’s bayonet aimed right into his forehead!
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.
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’.
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’.
As you can see below, the full painting is crammed with fascinating details. There are many more secrets to be discovered. The leader of the British forces has also been hiding in the background. Once he is pointed out to you, you will wonder why this figure has gone unnoticed for so long! This year (2020) marks 275 years since this event.
In the fashion of ‘Where’s Waldo’ you can also look for a Scottish spy who is wearing a tartan waistcoat. He is talking to a French agent. Another detail hints at the butchery of Culloden and the tactic which the British used on the field.
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.