Five Children of King Charles I
Five Children of King Charles I
after Sir Anthony van Dyck
oil on canvas, 17th century (1637)
35 1/4 in. x 69 3/8 in. (895 mm x 1762 mm)
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sittersback to top
- Princess Anne (1636-1640), Third daughter of Charles I. Sitter in 7 portraits.
- King Charles II (1630-1685), Reigned 1660-85. Sitter associated with 292 portraits.
- Princess Elizabeth (1635-1650), Daughter of Charles I. Sitter associated with 15 portraits.
- King James II (1633-1701), Reigned 1685-8. Sitter associated with 129 portraits.
- Mary, Princess of Orange (1631-1660), Daughter of Charles I; wife of William II of Orange-Nassau. Sitter associated with 49 portraits.
Artistback to top
- Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), Painter. Artist associated with 1007 portraits, Sitter associated with 31 portraits.
This portraitback to top
The five children of Charles I are shown left to right: Princess Mary, (later Princess of Orange and mother of William III); James, Duke of York, (later James II); Prince Charles, (later Charles II); Princess Elizabeth and, in her sister's lap, Princess Anne. The future Charles II rests his hand on the head of an enormous mastiff. The mastiff had been a guard dog since Roman times and appears here as a protector for the royal children at a time of civil unrest. Nonetheless, the position of the young Prince's hand suggests that he is capable of ruling this powerful beast and, by implication, his country. The original of this group portrait was painted for Charles I in 1637, and is still in the Royal Collection. It shows the children at full length with two dogs, the mastiff depicted here and a small 'King Charles' spaniel at the right. Along with van Dyck's earlier picture of the three eldest children, it was an immensely popular composition, and was copied many times. Van Dyck's relatively informal group of royal children contrasts markedly with the stiff, formal portraits of a generation earlier.
Related worksback to top
Linked publicationsback to top
- The changing face of childhood : British children's portraits and their influence in Europe, 2007 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 1st August-4th November 2007), p. 17
- Gibson, Robin, The Face in the Corner: Animal Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, 1998, p. 28
- Ingamells, John, Later Stuart Portraits 1685-1714, 2009, p. 119
- Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 6,120
- Robin Gibson, Pets in Portraits, 2015, p. 52
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 704
- Williamson, David, The National Portrait Gallery: History of the Kings and Queens of England, 1998, p. 114
- Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 112
Exhibitions and displays
- Cornelius Johnson: Charles I’s Forgotten Painter
Until 13 September
- BSL Gallery Tour: Van Dyck: Transforming British Art
26 November, 19:30
- Visualising Portraits: Van Dyck: Transforming British Art
29 October, 14:00
- Lunchtime Lecture: Van Dyck: Transforming British Art
1 October, 13:15
- Weekend Workshop: Painting Yourself into the Past
From 12 September, 11:00
- Artists in the Frame: Self-Portraits by Van Dyck and Others
Until 31 August