King Charles II

1 portrait

King Charles II, studio of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, circa 1638 - NPG 5705 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Charles II

studio of Sir Anthony Van Dyck
oil on canvas, circa 1638
59 1/4 in. x 51 1/2 in. (1505 mm x 1307 mm)
Purchased, 1984
Primary Collection
NPG 5705


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Sitterback to top

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

Artistback to top

  • Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), Painter. Artist associated with 1000 portraits, Sitter associated with 29 portraits.

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 and five years later 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 Royalist propaganda. Another portrait made about this time by Cornelius Johnson (or Jonson) shows him in a similar pose, but not in armour, with a view of a military encampment behind him.

Linked publicationsback to top