King Charles II and Jane Lane riding to Bristol

1 portrait

King Charles II and Jane Lane riding to Bristol

by Isaac Fuller
oil on canvas, 1660s?
83 1/2 in. x 93 5/8 in. (2121 mm x 2378 mm)
Purchased, 1979
Primary Collection
NPG 5251


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  • Isaac Fuller (1606-1672), Painter. Artist associated with 12 portraits, Sitter in 3 portraits.

This portraitback to top

The last of a set of five scenes that commemorate Charles II's dramatic escape from Parliamentarian forces following his defeat in the final battle of the civil wars. King Charles I was executed in 1649 and two years later his son Charles returned from exile in an attempt to regain the throne. He rallied his supporters at Worcester but on 3 September 1651 the royalists were decisively defeated by Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army. For the next six weeks the fugitive evaded Parliamentarian forces by travelling in disguise between a succession of safe houses. A reward of £1000 was offered for his capture and anyone caught helping him faced execution. With the aid of a network of royalist supporters, he finally sailed for France on 15 October. Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660 and the story of his daring escape nine years earlier became a cornerstone of Royal propaganda. Episodes such as the king taking refuge in the 'Royal Oak' passed into popular culture through written accounts, plays and prints. However, the scale and ambition of Isaac Fuller's painted treatment of the narrative is unique.

In the final scene in the series, Charles is shown setting out for the port of Bristol on 10 September. At the end of his first week in hiding, the king adopted a disguise as a servant to the royalist supporter Jane Lane. Charles's hopes of escape were frustrated as no ships were sailing to France from Bristol. He was to remain in hiding for another five weeks before escaping from Brighton on 15 October.

Linked publicationsback to top

Events of 1662back to top

Current affairs

Marriage of Catherine of Braganza to Charles II. A spectacular pageant on the Thames greets Catherine as she arrives at Whitehall Palace.
Act of Uniformity, lays down requirements for the clergy to remain in the Church of England, forcing hundreds to be ejected from their livings.

Art and science

Physicist Robert Boyle publishes A Defence of the Doctrine, Touching the Spring and Weight of the Air, which contains the first formulation of Boyle's Law, describing the relationship between pressure and volume of gases.

International

Upon restoration of the monarchy, pro-royalist and Catholic Irish landlords, notably James Butler, Duke of Ormonde, appeal to the king to restore their lands confiscated during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. However, political wrangling and insufficient land renders the subsequent Act of Settlement, passed by the Irish Parliament, unworkable.

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