King Charles I
1 portrait on display in the Room 5 miniature case at the National Portrait Gallery
King Charles I
by Unknown artist
oil on copper with 17 mica overlays, second half of 17th century
3 1/8 in. x 2 1/2 in. (79 mm x 64 mm) oval
This portraitback to top
This image of Charles I and the corresponding transparent overlays tell the story of his reign and death. It was one of the many objects made in the aftermath of his execution that honoured him as a holy martyr. The overlays are made of mica, a glass-like mineral. They are very fragile and have deteriorated over time.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 116
Mediaback to top
Events of 1651back to top
Current affairsCharles II, crowned King of Scotland, daringly invades England. His defeat at the Battle of Worcester by Oliver Cromwell permanently ends further military action against Parliament. Charles's escape from Worcester becomes legendary, as a fugitive, he seeks refuge for six weeks before finally fleeing to Normandy.
Art and scienceSocial philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, publishes his major work, Leviathan. Recognised as a cornerstone of western political philosophy, Hobbes's implication that the new political authority should be accepted, angering many exiled royalists.
InternationalHeaded by Chief Justice, Oliver St. John, a delegation is sent by the Rump Parliament to The Hague to negotiate a union between England and the Dutch Republic. The mission fails, principally over refusal by the Dutch to expel the exiled Stuart royal family from the country.
See this portrait
On display in the Room 5 miniature case at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
- Lunchtime Lecture: White King: the tragedy of Charles I
18 January 2018, 13:15
- Portrait of the Day: Henry VIII & Katherine of Aragon
17 December, 12:30
Tell us more
Help us conserve a portrait of a female adventurer, poet and medical pioneer