Tomasso Brothers to Unveil Pair of Miniature Masterpieces at TEFAF Maastricht in March

  • LONDON, United Kingdom
  • /
  • December 16, 2014

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Left: Prince Henry Benedict Stuart 1725-1807 and Right: Prince Charles Edward Stuart 1720-1788 by Jean-Etienne Liotard c.1736-8, watercolour and gouache on vellum, 7.4cm high by 5.5cm wide (excluding frame)
Tomasso Brothers

Recognised as leading dealers in the field of European sculpture, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art also specialises in Old Master paintings and objets d’art.  At TEFAF 2015 the gallery unveils an exquisite pair of portrait miniatures by one of the most sought-after masters of the genre Jean-Etienne Liotard (1702-1789) which depict Princes Charles Edward Stuart (1720-1788) and Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807), last in the lineage of Stuart Kings in Scotland and England. The asking price for these miniature masterpieces is €275,000. 


Born to French parents in Geneva, Jean-Etienne Liotard trained in Paris under the miniaturist and printmaker Jean-Baptiste Massé. While in Rome between 1736 and 1738, Liotard was commissioned by the exiled ‘Old Pretender’ James Edward Stuart (1688-1766) also known as “the king across the water”, to paint portraits of his young sons Princes Charles and Henry.

One of the most romantic figures in British history, celebrated in folklore as Bonnie Prince Charlie, Prince Charles Edward Stuart led the final Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 that was to end in defeat on the battle field of Culloden.

Powerful and compelling imagery of the Stuart royal family - in the form of portrait miniatures, engravings and prints - was dispatched throughout Europe to garner loyalty and raise funds for the Jacobite cause to re-claim the throne of England. Evidence shows these particular miniatures may have been part of a group of three Stuart portraits sent to Vienna to be seen by Empress Elizabeth, wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. A miniature of Prince Charles is also recorded as having been sent to Dorotea, Dowager Duchess of Parma and mother of the Queen of Spain.

The attribution has been fully endorsed by Professor Marcel Roethlisberger, author of the definitive 2008 monograph on Jean-Etienne Liotard in which they are illustrated.
Dino Tomasso, one of the Directors of the gallery, comments: “We are delighted to be exhibiting two masterpieces by the highly esteemed Jean-Etienne Liotard. This exquisite pair of miniatures is unrivalled amongst Liotard’s Stuart portraits in terms of their quality, and the fact that they are executed on vellum strongly suggests that they were his primary portraits of the young princes.”

These historic works will be a highlight at Tomasso Brothers Fine Art, stand 165, TEFAF 2015, and will be offered for sale priced at €275,000. The fair, which is the world’s leading art and antiques event, takes place at the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre (MECC) from 13-22 March 2015.

Based at Bardon Hall, Leeds, Tomasso Brothers Fine Art was established in 1993. A second gallery was opened in St. James’s, London in 2013. Dino and Raffaello are recognised internationally for specialising in important European sculpture from the early Renaissance to the Neoclassical periods, with particular expertise in European Renaissance bronzes, along with an in-depth knowledge of Old Master paintings and objets d’art. They have promoted and supported, through loans and exhibitions, major international institutions and were one of the sponsors of the landmark show Bronze at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2012.

Significant sales have been made to some of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Bode Museum, Berlin; The Liechtenstein Collection, and the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Yale Center for British Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

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