King Charles II
1 portrait on display in Room 5 at the National Portrait Gallery
King Charles II
by Unknown artist
oil on canvas, 1630
47 1/2 in. x 36 3/4 in. (1207 mm x 933 mm)
Purchased with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, 1997
Click on the links below to find out more:
Sitterback to top
- King Charles II (1630-1685), Reigned 1660-85. Sitter associated with 295 portraits.
This portraitback to top
This is the earliest known portrait of the future king. It was painted, according to the French inscription, when he was four months and fifteen days old. At this age he was described by his mother, Henrietta Maria, as 'so fat and so tall that he is taken for a year old'. The painting was probably sent to the prince's godmother and grandmother, Marie de' Medici, Queen Mother of France. The dog, held by the ear, is a toy spaniel, a breed which later came to be associated with Charles as King.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Gibson, Robin, The Face in the Corner: Animal Portraits from the Collections of the National Portrait Gallery, 1998, p. 27
- Robin Gibson, Pets in Portraits, 2015, p. 49
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 116
- Various contributors, National Portrait Gallery: A Portrait of Britain, 2014, p. 79
Subjects & Themesback to top
Events of 1630back to top
Current affairsCharles I's first surviving child, Charles, is born in St. James's Palace. He is baptised by the Anglican Bishop of London, William Laud, and brought up in the care of the Protestant Mary Curzon, Countess of Dorset.
Art and scienceThe Cottonian Library, containing the greatest resource of Old English and Middle English literature, founded by antiquary and anti-royalist, Sir Robert Bruce Cotton, is confiscated by the authorities.
InternationalPhilip IV of Spain and Charles I sign the Treaty of Madrid, ending hostilities between the two countries. Spanish diplomat, Cesare Alessandro Scaglia, assists with the conclusion of the peace deal.
German, Protestant land is regained from Catholic allies on account of Swedish intervention in the Thirty Years' War.
See this portrait
On display in Room 5 at the National Portrait Gallery
Exhibitions and displays
- Life, Death and Memory
Until 4 February 2018
- Painted Ladies: Women at the Court of Charles II
- Charles II
- WebQuest: Famous People Guy Fawkes
- WebQuest: Pepys, Nelson, Seacole
- The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons
- Kings and Queens: A Family tree
- Return to Life: A New Look at the Portrait Bust
- Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Art Conservation Project
- WebQuest: Children and Families
- 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