Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of King Charles II (1630-1685), wearing jabot and armour breastplate 

 English School 17th Century 

Portrait of King Charles II (1630-1685), wearing jabot and armour breastplate,  English School 17th Century
Graphite on vellum
17th Century
Oval, 2 1/4 inches (5.7cm)
Private Collection (since the eighteenth century)
The present work derives from an original portrait of circa 1675 by Sir Peter Lely (1618-1680) who was awarded the position as Principal Painter to the King in 1662. Whilst official painter, Lely painted a series of head studies from life which were then made up into larger compositions, the draperies and backgrounds painted no doubt by his vast number of studio assistants. It can be found therefore that the present work is after a portrait by Lely based upon his third head study but incorporating the breastplate and gold embroidered sleeve derived from Lely’s seated garter composition.

Although it has not been possible to identify the artist of this plumbago portrait, it may be based on an engraving of the period after Lely, of which many variants and copies existed. Given the heightened interest in prints during the later seventeenth century amongst the cognoscenti, it may have been drawn by a gentleman amateur and taken from an engraving in his own collection.
Philip Mould Ltd, 18-19 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5LU.Copyright Philip Mould Ltd.