[The Honble. Arch.d Douglas.]
Publish'd Octr. 22nd 1770, by G. Willison Greek Street, Soho, London.
Proof mezzotint, scratched letters and publication line, 422 x 605mm 16½ x 23¾ inches. Minor rubbing, minor printing imperfection in the plate in Justice's robes, stains lower left. In the final state the engraving carries a dedication, "To his Grace Charles Duke of Queensberry and Dover, This plate is most humbly Dedicated by His Grace's most obedient and obliged humble Servant. George Willison".
Allegorical portrait, bust-length to front within oval, held by figure of Justice, resting the image on carved pedestal and trampling Calumny beneath her feet; proof. Archibald Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas [1748–1827] litigant and politician. The relief medallions of Camden and Mansfield are references to the final decision in one of the eighteenth century's most famous legal battles. The Douglas Cause, was the challenge to Archibald's inheritance by the Hamiltons, who argued that he and his brother were supposititious. The Hamilton lawyers put together a plausible circumstantial argument that Archibald was actually Jacques Louis Mignon, the son of a Parisian glassworker, who had disappeared in July 1748. The case was litigated at great length and expense (the two sides spent £54,000 between them). It attracted tremendous interest, especially in Scotland. Not only was a large estate at stake, but many felt that requiring Archibald Douglas to in effect prove his identity raised a question that could endanger the security of inheritance in general. In Scotland the Douglas side enjoyed broad popular support, with James Boswell an especially eager partisan, though many of the literati favoured the Hamilton side. In 1767 the court of session decided by the casting vote of the lord president against Douglas. Douglas appealed to the House of Lords which, following the opinions of law lords Mansfield and Camden, reversed the decision without a division.
Whitman 20.i. CS:39.i Ex: Collection of The Hon. C. Lennox-Boyd.
[Ref: 15814] £480.00