Royal Armouries

Charles II (reigned 1660 - 1685)

Images

colour photo of a carved wooden head of Charles II

Carved wooden head of Charles II by Grinling Gibbons. English, 1685-6 (XVII.3)

  • colour photo of a carved wooden head of Charles II

    Carved wooden head of Charles II by Grinling Gibbons. English, 1685-6 (XVII.3)

  • monochrome photo of armoured figures on foot and horseback with large firearm

    The armour of James II in the New Horse Armoury. © Private collection 2013

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King James II in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840.

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of a line of mounted armoured figures

    ‘Interior of the Horse Armoury’, anon engraving, The Penny Magazine, 1836 © Royal Armouries 2013

  • colour photo of a carved wooden head of Edward III

    Carved wooden head of Edward III. English, about 1688-90 (XVII.41)

  • Carved wooden head of Charles II, English by Grinling Gibbons, 1685-6. xvii.3

  • Carved wooden head of Charles II, English by Grinling Gibbons, 1685-6. xvii.3

Date: 1685 | Object number: XVII.3

Statistics

Object Provenance: English, Grinling Gibbons, 1685-6
Object Number: XVII.3
Max. height: 35 cm (13.8 in)
Max. circumference: 54 cm (21.3 in)
Weight: 1.636 kg (3 lb 9.7 oz)

Charles II (reigned 1660 - 1685)

Description

Construction

Two parts

Type of Wood

Not oak

Appearance

Stripped and varnished. No facial hair or ears, double chin and deep indents from either side of the nose to the corners of the mouth. Bags under the eyes. Has more of a sense of a portrait than some of the others. Deep crack down left hand side of the head offering insight into some of the construction detail.

Paint Analysis

Unfortunately the remaining paint evidence was too fragmentary to provide basis for analysis.

References

Borg p.320; plate LXXIIIa

Other Notes

In June 1685 Grinling Gibbons was commissioned to make a new horse and the records show that a statue of wood with the king’s face carved on it and a carved wooden horse were received in December. Valentine Bayley, Master Painter, then primed, stopped, painted and finished Charles II’s face. He also painted the horse bright bay and gilded and burnished the truncheon held in the king’s hand. Bayley had previously been commissioned in 1682 to prime, stop and paint nine horses and five king’s faces and paint gilded armour for two horses.

Charles II disappeared from the line in Meyrick’s reorganisation in 1826-7. However, the photographic images of the 19th century displays suggest that his head was used with James II’s figure.

In the current exhibition it is shown with the mounted figure and armour of James II.

Statistics

Object Provenance: English, Grinling Gibbons, 1685-6
Object Number: XVII.3
Max. height: 35 cm (13.8 in)
Max. circumference: 54 cm (21.3 in)
Weight: 1.636 kg (3 lb 9.7 oz)

Related Objects

Grinling Gibbons and the Horse Armoury Click on the title link above to find out more.

Charles II in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

Samuel Meyrick and the Rearrangement of the Horse Armoury, about 1824-1827 Click on the title link above to find out more.

James II in the Line of Kings Click on the title link above to find out more.

Wooden Heads: an Introduction Click on the title link above to find out more.

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