King Charles I

1 portrait

King Charles I, by William Marshall, published 1649 - NPG D1305 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

King Charles I

by William Marshall
etching and line engraving, published 1649
5 1/2 in. x 7 in. (141 mm x 178 mm) paper size
Reference Collection
NPG D1305


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Sitterback to top

  • King Charles I (1600-1649), Reigned 1625-49. Sitter associated with 332 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • William Marshall (active 1617-1649), Engraver. Artist associated with 180 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Published just ten days after the King's execution, Eikon Basilike (The Image of the King) claimed to be a personal account of his suffering. Combining a moral justification of his reign with prayers of forgiveness for his executioners, it was a masterpiece of propaganda and became one of the most popular books of the seventeenth century. Parliament commissioned John Milton to write a theological riposte, but Eikonoklastes (the Iconoclast) failed to dislodge the popular perception of Charles I as a Christian martyr. This allegorical frontispiece shows Charles I receiving a crown of thorns. In this way, the suffering of the King is explicitly likened to the Passion of Christ.

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