King Charles I
King Charles I
by William Marshall
etching and line engraving, published 1649
5 1/2 in. x 7 in. (141 mm x 178 mm) paper size
Artistback to top
- William Marshall (circa 1617-1649), Engraver. Artist associated with 189 portraits, Sitter in 4 portraits.
This portraitback to top
Published just ten days after the King's execution, Eikon Basilike (The Image of the King) claimed to be a personal account of his suffering. Combining a moral justification of his reign with prayers of forgiveness for his executioners, it was a masterpiece of propaganda and became one of the most popular books of the seventeenth century. Parliament commissioned John Milton to write a theological riposte, but Eikonoklastes (the Iconoclast) failed to dislodge the popular perception of Charles I as a Christian martyr. This allegorical frontispiece shows Charles I receiving a crown of thorns. In this way, the suffering of the King is explicitly likened to the Passion of Christ.
Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top
- Charles I: King and Martyr (19 July 2008 - 14 December 2008)
Events of 1649back to top
Current affairsCharged with subverting the nation's laws and liberties and cruelly making war against Parliament and the English people, Charles I is found guilty by a court of 159 commissioners, and beheaded outside the Banqueting House, Whitehall.
England is declared a commonwealth and power is entrusted to a Council of State.
Art and scienceEikon Basilike, a self-exonerating account of Charles I's rule, is published days after his death. Allegedly written by the king himself, John Gauden, Bishop of Worcester, claimed authorship after the Restoration. Other tributes followed the king's death giving rise to a royalist cult of Charles the Martyr.
InternationalOliver Cromwell, as lord lieutenant of Ireland, begins his campaign in Ireland to subdue royalist support, and leads English Parliamentarian forces against the Royalist-Confederate coalition. The campaign's bloody massacres, in particular, the Siege of Drogheda and Wexford where Cromwell's troops slaughtered soldiers and civilians alike, became notorious.
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