King Charles I (1600-1649) reigned 1625-1649
About the work
Place: Historic Royal Palaces (long-term loans), Banqueting House, Whitehall
Interpretation about this artwork is under review
The Government Art Collection recognises its responsibility to artists, colleagues and all our audiences to represent the diversity of the UK and to embed anti-racist and equitable practices throughout our work. We are taking action to address inequality in the Collection and its interpretation.
King Charles I is depicted wearing a ruff, a grey doublet (close fitting, buttoned jacket), gauntlet gloves, knee-length breeches and turquoise-blue stockings. An inscription on the painting indicates that he was 29 at the time it was painted. Mytens and his studio painted several similar portraits of Charles I between 1629 and 1631 and together they show Charles's development into a confident monarch. Variations in the different versions are chiefly limited to the background and clothing of the King.
Charles I was the second surviving son of James I. He married Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), sister of the French king Louis XIII, in 1625. His reign was marked by increasing hostility between himself and Parliament. He retained the intensely unpopular Duke of Buckingham as his chief minister and dissolved Parliament in 1626, 1628 and 1629. He then ruled for eleven years without a Parliament, before summoning two in 1640 when urgently in need of funds. It was his relationship with the second of these, the Long Parliament, which led to the English Civil War and to his own eventual capture in 1647. In 1649 he was tried in Westminster Hall, charged with high treason and beheaded on a scaffold erected in Whitehall. He was succeeded by his son Charles II.
About the artist
Daniel Mytens, the son of a coachbuilder and saddler, was born in Delft, the Netherlands. He moved to London in the mid-1610s, to establish himself as a portrait painter. In 1624, King James I granted Mytens a pension of £50 per year and in the same year he was made a denizen of the UK. However, when Anthony van Dyck returned to London in 1632, Mytens’ career suffered a considerable blow. Van Dyck soon replaced Mytens as the favoured portraitist of Charles I and the loss of esteem apparently influenced Mytens in his decision to retire early from his painting career. He returned to the Netherlands and died in The Hague, sometime in 1647.
- King Charles I (1600-1649) reigned 1625-1649
- Oil on canvas
- height: 219.50 cm, width: 144.00 cm, depth: 2.50 cm
- Purchased from Appleby Bros, March 1958
- cl: Carolus.D.G. / Mag.Britanniae / Franciae.et. / Hiberniae Rex / fidei Defensor / Aetatis.suae / 29 / anno. 1629; verso of frame, bottom right, handwritten in brown ink on a label: Mr Earwicker / passenger to / Derby; verso of frame, centre right, handwritten in brown ink on a label [text as above] but partially covered by a torn label: HE BRITISH & FOREIGN SHIPPING / CO., LTD., / Fine Art Packers, Shippers and Removers
- With Appleby Bros.; from whom purchased by the Ministry of Works in March 1958
- GAC number