King Charles II

1 portrait

King Charles II, by Cornelius Johnson (Jonson or Jonson van Ceulen), 1639 - NPG 5103 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Charles II

by Cornelius Johnson (Jonson or Jonson van Ceulen)
oil on panel, 1639
11 3/8 in. x 7 7/8 in. (290 mm x 200 mm)
Purchased, 1975
Primary Collection
NPG 5103

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Sitterback to top

  • King Charles II (1630-1685), Reigned 1660-85. Sitter associated with 292 portraits.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

The eldest son of Charles I and 'bred to a wonderful civility' according to his mother's wishes, Charles reacted bravely to the outbreak of civil war. He first saw service at Edgehill aged twelve. When advised to retreat he cried 'I fear them not', flourished his pistol and had to be restrained from charging. Charles campaigned until he was sent abroad for his safety in 1646; five years later he made a daring invasion of England which ended in disaster at the Battle of Worcester. The image of him as a boy soldier was, it seems, a potent piece of propaganda; Van Dyck had earlier painted him in armour. This portrait, with its view of a military encampment in the distance, is one of three painted by Johnson of the royal children.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 116
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997)

Subjects & Themesback to top