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Skip to 0 minutes and 11 secondsSo when we think about the Jacobite court in exile, or in flight, as I like to think about it, we need to think about how they used propaganda to keep the cause alive. And oil on canvas portraits like that by Pierre Mignard are part of a pictorial propaganda scheme. Another form of material culture that the Jacobites used extensively are medals. And medals as an art form date back to the Renaissance. So it was part of the material output of a European court to issue medals. And a number of Jacobite medals survive. And they tell us something about the cause and what we might think of as the hyperbole of the cause.

Skip to 0 minutes and 58 secondsSo medals have to do with ideology and to do with conveying a message about Jacobitism in very succinct ways. So medals are incredibly tiny. And the one that I have in front of me is about 3 centimetres. So these are around the size of coinage that we use. But we can't think of them as coinage, because they're not part of an economic transaction. They're much more commemorative. And the medal I have in front of me is one that shows James VIII & III. And often, medals have on one side a head in profile. And this is typically a bust portrait, and it's usually looking to one side. So it's an outline of a face.

Skip to 1 minute and 49 secondsAnd here we have James with a laurel wreath in his hair. So what does that mean? That is a sign of victory. And what is the victory? So what we have to do with the medallic record is we have to think about the relationship between one side and another. We call that the obverse and the reverse. And on the other side of this small bronze medal is a map that shows Britain and Ireland. And it has a Latin inscription, reddite. What does that mean? That means restore. All around the side of this outline map we have ships.

Skip to 2 minutes and 32 secondsWhat this is saying is that this is saying that James VIII & III is going to restore the kingdoms by a naval invasion. So this is projecting the restoration of the Jacobites and how their cause is going to impact on Britain. So I want to say something about the iconography and the inscriptions. Often on Jacobites medals we have image and text, although text is a rather expansive term for what tends to be key words. And they're often in Latin. So the status of Latin at this time is that it is the language of the laity, but also the language of the learned. So if you're educated, you can read Latin.

Skip to 3 minutes and 24 secondsSo what happens with Latin is that it becomes a kind of code for those who are educated. So those who are educated can read it and can understand it. And for those who are not educated, it's just a form of hieroglyphics. So what the Jacobites do, in keeping with what courts had done since the Renaissance, is they use medals and they put out medals to say something about the cause and where it's going. And one of the questions of my pictogram was, is it the only one? Medals we know were produced in their thousands.

Skip to 4 minutes and 1 secondAnd so what we have here is a message which is reduced to a key word, an image, but actually, because this exists in its thousands, it's widely disseminated.

Jacobite Propaganda: James VIII and III

While in exile in Europe the Stuarts needed to constantly reinforce the legitimacy and urgency of their cause to reclaim the throne. We just saw how James VII and II and his wife, Mary, commissioned paintings and portraits to do precisely that.

In the first in a series of films, Professor Viccy Coltman looks at the issuing of Jacobite medals as a form of propaganda.

Please note, at 1:14 in the video Professor Coltman mistakenly says “millimetres” instead of “centimetres”. We are aware of this issue.

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This video is from the free online course:

Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites

The University of Edinburgh

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