by William Sheppard
oil on canvas, 1650
49 in. x 38 in. (1245 mm x 965 mm)
Artistback to top
- William Sheppard (active 1641-1660), Portrait painter. Artist associated with 14 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Witty, dissolute and eccentric, the playwright and theatre manager Killigrew was one of the most colourful figures of his time. It is not surprising that this portrait, painted by the obscure artist Sheppard, should be a striking affair. It was painted just a year after the execution of Charles I, when Killigrew was in Venice as the political agent of the exiled Charles II, and is conceived as an allegory of loyalty to the Royalist cause. Charles I's portrait hangs on the wall behind him, while a pile of Killigrew's plays rests on top of a copy of Eikon Basilike, ('The Image of the King'), a meditation on Charles's martyrdom. Killigrew's dog wears his master's name on his collar and is likely to have been included as a symbol of fidelity.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Piper, David, The development of the British literary portrait up to Samuel Johnson, 1970, Plate XI
- Ribeiro, Aileen, The Gallery of Fashion, 2000, p. 75
- Ribeiro, Aileen; Blackman, Cally, A Portrait of Fashion: Six Centuries of Dress at the National Portrait Gallery, 2015, p. 92
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 353
- Waterhouse, Ellis Kirkham, The dictionary of 16th & 17th century British painters, 1988, p. 245
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1650back to top
Current affairsExiled Charles, Prince of Wales, holds negotiations in the Netherlands, with the Scottish Parliament to secure an alliance. Despite misgivings on both sides, and pressure from the Scots for Charles to sign the covenants, the treaty of Breda is agreed.
Oliver Cromwell defeats the Scots at the Battle of Dunbar.
Art and sciencePoet and politician, Andrew Marvell, composes his greatest political poem, Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland. Marvell become Oliver Cromwell's unofficial poet laureate during the Protectorate.
InternationalWilliam, The Prince of Orange, grandson of Charles I, is born assuming the title from the moment of birth. Forty years later, he would become William III of England.
General-at-Sea, Robert Blake is dispatched to Portugal to prevent attacks on Commonwealth merchant shipping from royalist, Prince Rupert, based in Lisbon.
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