King Charles II (1630-85) Reigned 1660-85

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    This portrait of Charles II was once attributed to John Michael Wright (1617–1694), whose grand portrait of the Stuart king in coronation robes belongs to the Royal Collection. It is now thought to be by Thomas (or Edward) Hawker. It is similar to the portrait of Charles II by Hawker in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Hawker based the head of the King in this painting on a portrait by John Riley (1646–1691), who succeeded Peter Lely as Principal Painter to Charles II in 1680. The Hawker painting is also related to a portrait of Charles II seated in Garter robes by Lely (1618–1680), which is in the collection of the Duke of Grafton. Lely’s portrait was painted around 1672 and shows the King seated, with the crown jewels at his side and Windsor in the background. 

  • About the artist
    Thomas Hawker, portrait painter, lived in Sir Peter Lely’s house in Covent Garden, London, after Lely’s death. He was described by art historian Sir Ellis Kirkham Waterhouse as ‘a close but pedestrian follower of Lely’. Hawker painted portraits of the Duke of Grafton (c.1680/1), Titus Oates and Sir Dudley North. He is probably the same artist called Edward Hawker by George Vertue, perhaps in error, who was still living and aged more than 80 years, in 1721.
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  • Details
    King Charles II (1630-85) Reigned 1660-85
    Oil on canvas
    height: 191.50 cm, width: 137.00 cm
    Purchased from Graves Ltd, 1900
    Collection at Madingley Hall, Cambridgeshire; probably by descent to Dame Maria Susanna King (died 1871; wife of Vice-Admiral Sir Richard King, died 1834; daughter of Admiral Sir Charles Cotton); sold through 'The Madingley Pictures' sale, Messrs Foster, Pall Mall, London, on 14-15 June 1871; collection of Mr S. J. Leather; by whom sold through Christie's, London, on 8 December 1883 (Lot 117), no artist attribution published in catalogue; from which sale purchased by Colnaghi, London; with Graves Ltd.; from whom purchased by the Office of Works in 1900
    GAC number