- Museum number
- Object: Carolus II Dei Gratia Angliae, Scotiae, Franciae et Hiberniae Rex
Portrait of Charles II, bust in an oval, wearing a Garter chain. 1675
- Production date
Height: 518 millimetres
Width: 408 millimetres (cut)
- Curator's comments
- (Text from Antony Griffiths, 'The Print in Stuart Britain', BM 1998, cat.148 )
This huge engraving is the largest portrait made in England since Delaram's of James in 1619, and established Vandrebanc's reputation in this country. Like all outsize prints it is virtually impossible to find in good condition: it was too large for normal print albums, and so was often cut and folded. This impression is severely cut, and one centimetre with the publication line removed. A complete impression at Windsor has the address 'Tis to be sold at the whitt bear in King Street in Covent Garden'. This is probably the first state, and the address that of Vandrebanc's lodgings.
Two later states are known. One was jointly published by Arthur Tooker and William Battersby, and in it Charles's appearance has been updated: he has lost his moustache, and his wig and cravat are lengthened to cover the Garter, which is now worn over armour, rather than robes. The date 1675 and Gascar's name have been removed (an impression is in the British Museum, Clarendon VII 147). This state can be dated to 1680 from an advertisement for it placed in the London Gazette for 26 April by Tooker and others. A still later state again was published by Justin Oldisworth at the Golden Ball in Cannon Street (a photograph is in the National Portrait Gallery files).
The following year Vandrebanc engraved a second head of Charles II, which was announced in the Term catalogue for February 1676: it was 'new, very large and fine ... on a sheet of imperial paper' and was sold by the author near Covent Garden Church and by John Overton. This was the first announcement of any single-sheet print in the Term catalogues. A subsequent announcement in November the following year clarifies the identity of the print: it was 'as large as life; first painted ad vivum by Mr Lely, his majesties painter, and then curiously engraven by Mons. Vanderbank, and now printed in one sheet of extraordinary large paper for that purpose ... sold by John Overton'. There is an impression of this very rare engraving at Windsor, dated 1677, and its composition is very closely related to Blooteling's mezzotint of Charles. Since this follows so swiftly after Vanderbanc's plate after Gascar, one can only deduce that Lely had persuaded Vanderbanc to desert Gascar and go over to working for him.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1998 BM, 'The Print in Stuart Britain, cat.148
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Purchased through Messrs Daniell at Sotheby's sale of Robert Cook, 6 June 1864, lot 76, for 16s (with two other prints)
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number