The execution of King Charles I

1 portrait

The execution of King Charles I, after Unknown artist, circa 1649 - NPG D1306 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

The execution of King Charles I

after Unknown artist
etching, circa 1649
11 1/2 in. x 10 1/4 in. (292 mm x 260 mm)
Reference Collection
NPG D1306


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

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Images commemorating Charles I's execution were suppressed in England but numerous prints were produced in continental Europe. The first recorded engraving is the Theatrum Tragicum, published in Amsterdam within weeks of the event. This German print is a close copy but reversed. The reaction of the spectators reflects an eyewitness account that the stunned crowd groaned with grief as the axe fell. The resemblance of the fainting woman to images of the Virgin Mary at the Crucifixion is likely to have struck a chord with contemporary viewers.

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