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King Charles I

1 of 334 portraits of King Charles I

King Charles I, studio of Isaac Oliver, (circa 1612) - NPG 3064 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Charles I

studio of Isaac Oliver
watercolour on vellum, (circa 1612)
1 7/8 in. x 1 1/2 in. (48 mm x 38 mm) oval
Transferred from British Museum, 1939
Primary Collection
NPG 3064

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A dense black paint defines the pupil and has…
Short strokes of brown paint are used to crea…
Detail of the lace ruff painted over the cost…

Sitterback to top

  • King Charles I (1600-1649), Reigned 1625-49. Sitter associated with 334 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Isaac Oliver (circa 1565-1617), Miniature painter. Artist associated with 71 portraits, Sitter in 5 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Shown here as a young prince, this miniature was painted after Charles's election to the Order of the Garter in 1611, aged 11. It is executed in watercolour on vellum mounted onto a playing card with a single heart on the reverse. He is shown wearing elaborate gilded armour and the blue ribbon of the Order of the Garter.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 59
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 115

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1612back to top

Current affairs

Aged 18, Henry, Prince of Wales dies suddenly, probably from typhoid, sparking widespread mourning throughout the country, and abroad. James I's second son, Charles, becomes heir apparent. Edward Wightman, a Baptist and alleged heretic, is the last person to be burnt at the stake in England.

Art and science

The literary world memorialises Henry, Prince of Wales after his death. Among those who lamented the loss of the popular prince were John Donne and Sir Walter Ralegh. Thomas Shelton's English translation of the first half of Don Quixote is published, the first translation of the novel into any language.


The betrothal of James I's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to Frederick, elector palatine, strengthens the Protestant union made between England and German princes under Frederick, concluded earlier in the year. East India Company claims victory against the Portuguese in the Battle of Swally off the coast of Suvali, India.

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