Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Portrait of King Charles I (1600-49), wearing the Garter ribbon 

 English School 17th Century 

Portrait of King Charles I (1600-49), wearing the Garter ribbon,  English School 17th Century
Oil and Canvas
17th Century
30 x 25 in (76.2 x 63.5 cm)
George Osborne, 10th Duke of Leeds, Hornby Castle, Yorkshire, by descent to; Lady Dorothy Beatrix Godolphin-Osborne (1888-1946), later styled Lady Glamis, (according to a label on reverse); By descent, until 2014.
Hornby Castle, Catalogue of Pictures, (London, 1898), p. 27, no. 329, in the First Drawing Room; Historical and descriptive catalogue of pictures belonging to His Grace The Duke of Leeds, (London, 1902), p. 94, no. 329.
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This engaging and accomplished work is a late-seventeenth-century copy of Sir Anthony Van Dyck’s celebrated likeness of the king painted c.1636 [Chequers Trust]. The original is thought to have been painted from life and was later developed into a more elaborate composition, with the king shown seated holding a sceptre in his right hand and his left hand resting on an orb.

In 1632, on the invitation of Charles, Van Dyck arrived in London, and over the course of nine years until his death in Blackfriars in 1641, revolutionised portrait painting in England. Van Dyck’s style would later influence generations of portrait painters working in England, and his portraiture has helped shape our understanding of English seventeenth-century society. Van Dyck’s master Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was also a favourite of Charles, and was commissioned to paint a series of ceiling panels for the Banqueting House in Whitehall relating to the reign of Charles’s father James VI & I (1566-1625), which were installed in 1636. As well as a patron of living artists, Charles was also an avid collector of the old masters, amassing a vast collection of important works which were later dispersed by Oliver Cromwell following the fall of the monarchy.

The 1630s was a period of fierce religious debate in the realm, as Charles, a devout Anglican, along with the newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud (1573-1645), tried to rebuff Calvinist approaches to prayer and create a more unified religious state. Vocal dissenters were treated with a heavy-hand and in 1637 the puritan supporters William Prynne (1600-69), John Bastwick (c.1595-1654) and Henry Burton (c.1578-1647/8) were tied to a pillar and mutilated before being imprisoned.

Charles’ support in Scotland was also dwindling following his Scottish coronation in Edinburgh in 1633. The coronation was held in an Anglican manner and the situation worsened when, later in 1637, Charles, introduced a standard prayer book which many viewed as a threat to the religious authority of the Church of Scotland. This ultimately led to the Bishops’ Wars (1639-1640) and marked the end of a period of military peace.

Although the political and religious climate was waning during the 1630s, patronage and encouragements of the arts was thriving and this decade was arguably one of the most important in the historical development of the arts in England, to which an image such as this is testimony.
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