Charles I: King and Martyr

Past display archive
19 July - 14 December 2008

Room 16

Free



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

The execution of King Charles I
after Unknown artist
circa 1649
NPG D1306

The execution of Charles I was one of the momentous events of British history, the culmination of years of political unrest and civil war. Its impact was both profound and widespread, reaching into all areas of British life. This display looks at some of the ways in which people struggled to make sense of what had happened and to remember the king, in the medium of prints. Including engravings and etchings ranging from gory representations of the execution itself to idealised images of the king transfigured through martyrdom, this display will consider the role of posthumous portraiture in creating and recreating a historical character.