Property of a lady English School Portrait of Charles II wh...





Property of a lady

English School
Portrait of Charles II when a baby
Later inscribed lower right: 'K. Charles II'
Oil on canvas


  • Probably Robert Carey, 1st Earl of Monmouth (1560-1639);

  • thence by descent to his granddaughter, Lady Martha Carey, who married Charles, 2nd Earl of Middleton;

  • by descent to her daughter, Lady Elizabeth Middleton, wife of William Spelman (the picture is mentioned in her will dated 2nd November 1745);

  • thence by descent until offered for sale, London, Sotheby's, 9th June 1998, lot 1;

  • London, Sotheby's, 8th July 2010, Lot 222,
    Old Master and British Paintings Day Sale, bt. 85,250 GBP

K. Gibson, Best Belov'd Kings, The Iconography of Charles II, unpublished ph.D.Thesis, 1997, no. 2

Catalogue Note:
Charles was born at St. James's Palace on 29th May, 1630, shortly before midday. On hearing that his wife, Queen Henrietta Maria, had given birth to a fine healthy son, the King mounted his horse and rode into the City to give thanks to God. Being given all the attention worthy of a future King, the baby flourished, leading the Queen to comment in a letter to her old governess, Madame St. George in Spetember 1630: 'He is so fat and so tall that he is taken for a year old and he is only four months; his teeth are already beginning to come'. She added: 'I will send you his portrait as soon as he is a little fairer, for at present he is so dark that I am ashamed of him'. Charles was, however, never to lose his dark complexion, earning himself the sobriquet 'the black boy'.

Sir Robert Carey, from whom this painting probably descended, was closely involved with the Royal household. At the Court of James I his wife was appointed mistress of the Robes to the Queen and they both had the charge of the young Duke of York, later King Charles I, who was consequently brought up together with the Carey children. Upon the future Charles I becoming Prince of Wales Sir Robert was appointed his Chamberlain, and remained attached to him until his death in 1639. This sensitive portrait was painted in October when the young Prince was four months old. As with a similar version now in the National Portrait Gallery, the Prince is shown propped up on a cushion as if on his Chair of State.

49.75 in. (H) x 40.75 in. (W)

Auction Date: 30th Nov 2022 at 1pm

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Sale Dates:
30th Nov 2022 1pm (Lots 1 to 444)