Lord Adam Gordon and the Count D’Artois

17] Lord Adam Gordon (1726-1801), the fourth son of the second Duke of Gordon, became a career soldier and member of parliament, first for the county of Aberdeen and later for the county of Kincardine.  He saw action against the French in 1758.  He had further postings in America where he was granted some land in Florida and New York State.  He was promoted Major General and became Governor of Edinburgh Castle and Commander in Chief of the Scottish armed forces from 1789-98.  In that capacity he took up residence in Holyrood Palace, which he set about ‘improving’ by painting all the oak carvings white!  He died in 1801 ‘in consequence of inflammation, produced by drinking lemonade while over-heated’.[i] It was while living in the Palace that he became host to Count D’Artois.  The two men are shown arm-in-arm in Kay’s portrait.  

18] Charles Philippe, the Count D’Artois (1757-1836), was given this title by his grandfather, King Louis XV.  As a youth he was described as ‘the most gay, gaudy. fluttering, accomplished, luxurious, and expensive Prince of Europe’.  He became heavily in debt and had to be rescued by his oldest brother, Louis XVI. He married Maria Theresa in 1773 and had two sons. After the storming of the Bastille he was forced to leave France and from 1789 lived a nomadic existence in various continental courts.  In 1794 he settled in Britain with his favourite mistress, Louise de Polastron, having been given an allowance by George III.  On 6 June 1796[ii] he landed at Leith and was given a royal welcome with a twenty-one gun salute and accommodated in Holyrood Palace, where he was joined by his elder son the Duc d’Angouleme. At the restoration of the French monarchy in 1814, the Count returned to France and in 1824, on the death of his brother, Louis XVIII, he became king in his turn as Charles X.  He reigned until 1830, but was never popular with the masses, and after the July Revolution, he was forced to abdicate and was replaced by Louis Philippe, the Duke of Orleans. Once more he sought refuge in Edinburgh where he had been made very welcome during his previous stay.  During this second visit he again lived in Holyrood Palace until 1833.  The citizens of Edinburgh grew very fond of the King who had been unloved in his own country.  He reciprocated by supporting many of the city’s charities as he had done previously with a generous donation to those who had suffered in the Great Fire of 1824. He was welcomed by the Earl of Wemyss and the Duke of Buccleugh to their estates where he demonstrated his skill with the gun.  He retired to Göritz in Italy in 1833.  Kay’s Portraits relates that ‘When this ill-fated family bade adieu to our shores, they carried with them the grateful benedictions of the poor, and the respect of all men of all parties, who honour misfortune, when ennobled by virtue’.[iii]

[i] Kay’s Portraits 1 p213

[ii] This date is significant for it helps to date the Painting.

[iii] Kay’s Portraits 2 p203