Thomas Chiffinch

Thomas Chiffinch, attributed to Jacob Huysmans, circa 1660 - NPG 816 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Thomas Chiffinch

attributed to Jacob Huysmans
oil on canvas, circa 1660
44 1/2 in. x 36 3/4 in. (1130 mm x 933 mm)
Purchased, 1889
Primary Collection
NPG 816

Sitterback to top

  • Thomas Chiffinch (1600-1666), Keeper of the Privy Closet and the King's Jewels to Charles II. Sitter in 1 portrait.

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

A page to Charles I and a close confidant of Charles II, at the Restoration Chiffinch was appointed Keeper of the Privy Closet and of the King's Jewels. At Whitehall he was also charged with looking after the king's collection of Old Master paintings. Nonetheless, the unusual collection of attributes seen in this portrait may represent his own collections. Chiffinch is holding a piece of paper in his right hand which he rests on a classical bust. Scattered around the base of the bust are portrait miniatures and gold coins and in his left hand he holds a cameo of a woman's profile. The 'auricular' frame to this portrait has grotesque masks at the top and bottom which are set between dophins with open mouths which appear to engulf the corner ornament of the frame.

Linked publicationsback to top

  • Piper, David, Catalogue of Seventeenth Century Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery, 1625-1714, 1963, p. 69
  • Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 77
  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 121
  • 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. 53, 153

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 principle 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.

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