Prince William V Batavus, Prince of Orange-Nassau
James Tassie (Glasgow 1735 - London 1799)
One of a pair of framed white glass paste portrait reliefs. Portrait of Prince William V Batavus, Prince of Orange-Nassau (1748-1806) by James Tassie (1735-1799). Inscribed on the truncation 'Prince of Orange 1787'. Prince William faces to the left. Displayed in a glazed oval wooden frame.
James Tassie was born in Pollokshaws, Glasgow. He began his artistic training as a stonemason before enrolling as student in Glasgow's academy of art which had been set up by the Glasgow printers Robert and Andrew Foulis. In 1763 Tassie moved to Dublin where he worked as a laboratory assistant to the physician Dr. Henry Quin. Quin and Tassie developed a vitreous material, described as enamel, which could be used to reproduce classical cameos and intaglios. In 1766, Tassie moved to London where he received commissions to duplicate many famous gems and established a thriving business. Alongside his commercial success reproducing gems, Tassie also produced a great number of contemporary portrait medallions of 'the first people of the kingdom'. He would initially model the portrait from life in wax, then make a plaster cast from which a vitreous paste mould was made. A cast of the portrait relief in the same vitreous paste was the final stage in the process. The portraits were highly neo-classical in style echoing the taste of the time. William V, Prince of Orange was the last Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic. His father, William IV, had been made General Stadtholder of all seven of the United Provinces of the Netherlands in 1747 following a threat from the French army and a realisation that internal divisions made the country weak against attack. William's mother was Anne, Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King George II of Great Britain, making William the grandson of the British monarch. George II created WIlliam a Knight of the Garter in 1759 at the age of four, and he is usually depicted in portraits wearing the Star of the Order of the Garter pinned to his left breast. In this portrait he is shown wearing the ribband of the Order of the Garter, a four inch wide sash worn over the left shoulder. He is dressed in a jacket with a cravat and wears a long wig. The portrait is listed as number 14110 in the catalogue of James Tassie's works compiled by R.E. Raspe in 1791. Anna Moore (Feb 2018)
Given by Miss Wadge in 1988.
National Trust Collections (Dyrham Park)
Marks and inscriptions
On truncation: PRINCE/ OF ORANGE/ 1787
Makers and roles
James Tassie (Glasgow 1735 - London 1799), maker