First Previous 8 OF 295 NextLast

King Charles II

8 of 295 portraits of King Charles II

© National Portrait Gallery, London

6 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Buy a print Buy a greetings card Make a donation Close

King Charles II

by John Michael Wright
oil on canvas, circa 1660-1665
49 3/4 in. x 39 3/4 in. (1264 mm x 1010 mm)
Transferred from The British Museum, London, 1879
Primary Collection
NPG 531


An exceptional frame of the 1680s or 1690s, i…

Sitterback to top

  • King Charles II (1630-1685), Reigned 1660-85. Sitter associated with 295 portraits.

Artistback to top

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Smartify image discovery app
  • Gibson, Robin, Treasures from the National Portrait Gallery, 1996, p. 43
  • Hart-Davis, Adam, Chain Reactions, 2000, p. 22
  • Ollard, Richard, Character Sketches: Samuel Pepys and His Circle, 2000, p. 29
  • Ollard, Richard, Pepys and his Contemporaries, 2015, p. 40
  • Perry, Gill (introduction) Roach, Joseph (appreciation) and West, Shearer (appreciation), The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons, 2011 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 20 October 2011 to 8 January 2012), p. 72
  • Piper, David, The English Face, 1992, p. 103
  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 67
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 116
  • Simon, Jacob, The Art of the Picture Frame: Artists, Patrons and the Framing of Portraits in Britain, 1997 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 8 November 1996 - 9 February 1997), p. 14, 154 Read entry

    Carved and gilt pine, the top frame with a mason's mitre, the back frame lap jointed at top and butt jointed at bottom, the rebate enlarged top and bottom, some of the carving renewed possibly including the top flower held by cherubs. 4 1⁄ 4 to 6 inches wide, 11 inches at top cresting.

    An exceptional frame of the 1680s or 1690s, in an idiom associated with Sir Christopher Wren's woodcarvers, with cherubs on either side of a shell at the top, more cherubs on the sides and at the bottom, swags of fruit and festoons on ribbons at the top and sides, and additional swags at the bottom. At some stage the frame has been stripped, repaired, regessoed and regilt and in the process much of the original surface detail has been lost.

    The purpose of this frame is not known but presumably it was made for an important picture. Very similar but even finer frames, each surmounted by a crown, graced portraits of William III and Queen Mary formerly at Cullen House, Banffshire.1 The frame of NPG 531 appears to have come to the Gallery on the portrait of Charles I's physician, Sir Theodore Mayerne, which was a copy after Rubens made in the late seventeenth century or early eighteenth century.

    1 Sold on the premises by Christie's, 22 September 1975, lot 479.

  • Williamson, David, Kings and Queens, 2010, p. 115
  • Williamson, David, The National Portrait Gallery: History of the Kings and Queens of England, 1998, p. 117

Events of 1660back to top

Current affairs

The Convention Parliament and Lords proclaim Charles II king after he issues a declaration from Breda offering an indemnity to those who had committed crimes against the crown during the civil war and Interregnum. Charles lands at Dover from The Hague on 25th May to great pomp and ceremony.

Art and science

Diarist Samuel Pepys starts his diary on 1st January, writing in shorthand. The diary became a unique social document, opening with a brief summary of his domestic situation and the political background.
Dutch portrait painter, Peter Lely, is appointed principal painter to Charles II.
Official foundation of the Royal Society.


The Anglo-Spanish War, begun by Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, formally ends after the restoration of the British monarchy and peace is made with Philip IV of Spain.

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this portrait? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license this image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.