King Charles II

1 portrait

King Charles II, after Sir Peter Lely, (circa 1675) - NPG 153 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Charles II

after Sir Peter Lely
oil on canvas, feigned oval, (circa 1675)
29 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. (749 mm x 629 mm)
Purchased, 1863
Primary Collection
NPG 153


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Sitterback to top

  • King Charles II (1630-1685), Reigned 1660-85. Sitter associated with 294 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 842 portraits, Sitter in 19 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Charles spent his youth in exile on the continent, but remained resourceful and optimistic. He was restored to the throne in 1660, amid great rejoicing, but with limitations on his powers. He became adept at out-manoeuvring the opposition to his policies, particularly in matters of religion and foreign affairs. His brilliant court was notorious for its easy-going morality; the King had fourteen children by various mistresses, but no legitimate heir. He was succeeded on the throne by his brother James.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1675back to top

Current affairs

James Scott, Duke of Monmouth oversees the suppression of the London weavers' riots which break out in the East End against the introduction of mechanised silk looms. The great fire of Northampton quickly destroys the city. Charles II donates timber for its reconstruction.

Art and science

Charles II founds the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and appoints John Flamsteed the first Astronomer Royal. Royal approval is given to the 'Warrant' design, Sir Christopher Wren's design for the rebuilding of St. Paul's Cathedral devastated by the Great Fire (1666).

International

A naval campaign into the Mediterranean under the command of Sir John Narbrough, with protégé, Cloudesley Shovell as lieutenant, blockades the port of Tripoli and successfully halts persistent attacks on English merchant ships by North African pirates. A peace treaty is signed with Tripoli in 1676.

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