King Charles II

1 portrait

King Charles II, by Cornelius Johnson, 1639 - NPG 5103 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Charles II

by Cornelius Johnson
oil on panel, 1639
11 3/8 in. x 7 7/8 in. (290 mm x 200 mm)
Purchased, 1976
Primary Collection
NPG 5103


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Sitterback to top

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

Artistback to top

  • Cornelius Johnson (1593-1661), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 138 portraits, Sitter associated with 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The image of Charles as a boy soldier was, it seems, a potent piece of propaganda; a portrait by Van Dyck made around the same time as this portrayed in 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

Events of 1639back to top

Current affairs

First Bishop's War. Conflict between Scotland and England over the king's intention to replace Scottish Presbyterianism with High Anglicanism is fiercely opposed by Scottish covenanters. Both sides assemble armies with Archibald Campbell, Marquess of Argyll emerging as leader of the covenanters. Only skirmishes occur, quickly leading to negotiations at Berwick.

Art and science

Archbishop Laud donates the Peterborough Chronicle, one of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, to the Bodleian Library. Astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks having predicted the transit of Venus in November, observes and records it. Horrocks's draft treatise on the planet's transit, Venus in sole visa, is posthumously published by Johannes Hevelius in 1662.

International

Naval Battle of the Downs. Dutch Admiral Maarten Tromp, decisively defeats the Spanish, under Admiral Antonio de Oquendo. It is fought in the English Channel. Francis Day, of the British East India Company, acquires land from King of Chandragiri, and founds Fort St. George, which would later become Madras (Chennai).

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