The British Museum's collections, £16.99
Height: 495.000 mm
Width: 325.000 mm
Prints and Drawings
Robert van Voerst, Portrait bust of Charles I, an engraving
England, around AD 1636
After a sculpted bust by François Dieussart
This large engraving, which reproduces a sculpted bust of Charles I (reigned 1625-49), is an unfinished proof print of work in progress. The plate is unworked on the king's right shoulder, on a ribbon round his neck and on the medallion that should hang from it. At the bottom of the plate, the panel lacks its inscription. However the engraving captures the spirit of the bust, casting a shadow in its narrow niche.
The plate is attributed to van Voerst (1597-1636), who arrived in London in 1627 after training as an engraver in Utrecht. His early success in engraving painted portraits reached a peak in 1634, when he engraved van Dyck's magnificent double portrait of Charles I and Henrietta Maria (now in the Czech Republic). Van Dyck indicated his admiration of the engraving by including a portrait of van Voerst among those in his series of portraits, the Iconography, as well as by commissioning him to engrave a number of its plates.
Dieussart arrived in London in 1636. An early copy of the bust
reproduced here survives in Windsor Castle. All we know about the
print comes from this unsigned and undated
Van Voerst died of
the plague shortly before October 1636, which presumably explains
the print's unfinished
A. Griffiths, The print in Stuart Britain, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)