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'Charles I imprisoned in Carisbrook Castle' (King Charles I)

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'Charles I imprisoned in Carisbrook Castle' (King Charles I)

by George Noble, after Robert Smirke
line engraving, 1800
18 1/8 in. x 13 3/8 in. (460 mm x 340 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Friends of the National Libraries and the Pilgrim Trust, 1966
Reference Collection
NPG D32078

Sitterback to top

  • King Charles I (1600-1649), Reigned 1625-49. Sitter associated with 335 portraits.

Artistsback to top

  • George Noble (active 1795-1828), Engraver. Artist associated with 11 portraits.
  • Robert Smirke (1753-1845), Painter and illustrator. Artist associated with 23 portraits, Sitter in 8 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Charles was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight for much of his final year. Here, the king awaits his fate in a lonely cell attended by a pitying servant. His stoic suffering and isolation invite comparison with the Biblical motif Ecce Homo ('Behold the Man'), a popular image in Western art depicting the scourged Christ being presented to the people by Pontius Pilate. This idealised image of the king betrays none of the artist Robert Smirke's republican sympathies, which would have been politically dangerous during a period of war against Revolutionary France.

Placesback to top

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1800back to top

Current affairs

Widespread food riots after poor harvests of 1798-9. Theorist, Thomas Malthus, controversially argues that poverty and food shortages are an inevitable consequence of population growth, challenging assumptions that populousness was a sign of national prosperity and power. His thesis contributed forcefully to the debate over the existing Poor Law.

Art and science

William Wordsworth publishes his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads; a retrospective explanation of his experimental poems written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It becomes one of the best-known manifestos of Romantic literature.

International

Lord Castlereagh, Chief Secretary for Ireland, is the main architect of the Act of Union under which Ireland is merged with Great Britain and the Irish parliament is abolished.
British troops support successful uprising by Maltese against the French.
Napoleon is victorious against Austrians at Marengo and reconquers Italy.

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