This palace, formerly known as Palazzo Riario, is located in Trastevere at Via della Lungara 10, just past Via Corsini. At one point it was proposed that King James III and VIII use this palace as his Roman residence in place of Palazzo Balestra. 1 James was in the habit of walking in the gardens of Palazzo Corsini, now the Orto Botanico. On December 31, 1733, the Prince of Wales (later King Charles III) celebrated his thirteenth birthday here. 2
Cardinal Neri Maria Corsini (1685-1770) had the palace rebuilt. He was a particularly close friend of King James. 3 The palace still contains Cardinal Corsini's art collection. Among the paintings is a portrait of King James III by François de Troy. 4 It was purchased by Cardinal Corsini in 1750. 5For some years the portrait hung in Palazzo Madama, the home of the Italian Senate. In May 2002 I was unable to find it hanging anywhere in Palazzo Corsini.
Today Palazzo Corsini houses part of the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica (of which the Corsini collection forms the core); it is also the seat of the Academia Nazionale dei Lincei. The gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 9.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m., Saturday from 9.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m., and Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
1 The palace had formerly served as the Roman residence of Queen Cristina of Sweden who died here in 1689.
2 Frank McLynn, Charles Edward Stuart: A Tragedy in Many Acts (London: Routledge, 1988), 37.
3 A. Shield and Andrew Lang, The King Over the Water (London: Longmans, Green, 1907), 442.
4 François de Troy was born at Toulouse, France, in 1645 and died at Paris in 1730. He painted several other portraits of James III, one of which is now in the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, another at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and another in the Landesmuseum Hannover.
5 Sivigliano Alloisi, Personaggi e Interpreti: Ritratti della Collezione Corsini (Rome: Gebart, 2001), 58-60. The painting is an oil on canvas, measuring 71.5 cm X 55.5 cm. There is a plate in volume I of Amy Vitteleschi's A Court in Exile (London: Hutchinson, 1903), which is identified as a portrait of James at the Galleria Corsini; in fact it is merely an engraving by A.M. Horthemels after a portrait by Alexis-Simon Belle.
Image 1 (Facade): © Noel S. McFerran 2001.
Image 2 (Portrait of King James III by François de Troy): Alloisi, 58.