The Collections

A Maritime View of Charles II's England

Created: 06.07.11

I have chosen ten objects that were made during the reign of Charles II (1660-1685), a period of restored monarchy after more than a decade of civil war and Parliamentarian government. My selection highlights the patronage of the court (especially where it concerned the Navy) and maps the delicate balance of power in Europe between England, France and the Dutch Republic. It is no coincidence that at least half of the ten objects were made by immigrant artists, mostly from the Low Countries. Highly skilled artists and craftsmen from Continental Europe were encouraged to travel to England during the Restoration, and their presence helped to shape the course of British art for several generations. The fact that the English and Dutch were at war for much of the period does not seem to have deterred the movement of artists across the North Sea.


  • Name
  • Artist / Maker
  • Date made
  • ID
  • Darby, John
    1675
    PBE6862(8)
    A chart of the Brittish Chanel

    Bound sheet. Hand col engr. Scale: [ca. 1: 1 000 000 (bar)]. Cartographic Note: Borders graduated for latitude. Bar scales in English and French leagues, Dutch miles and Spanish leagues. Additional Places: English Channel. A chart from 'Atlas Maritimus', or…

  • Velde, Willem van de
    circa 1676
    UPDN55
    Portrait of the English ship 'Charles'

    The ‘Charles’, 96 guns, was built in 1668, renamed ‘St George’ in 1687, and rebuilt in 1701. This drawing is probably an offset and is worked up in graphite and wash with the exception of the quarter-gallery, of which there…

  • T. Simon
    1665
    MEC0850
    Medal commemorating the dominion of the sea

    Medal commemorating the dominion of the sea. Obverse: Bust of King Charles II (right) in a long wig, laureate, and mantle. Legend: 'CAROLVS . II . D . G . M . BR . FR . ET . HIB .…

  • Cooper, Samuel
    circa 1660-65
    1948-609
    Charles II, 1630 - 85

    Oval miniature in watercolour, in an oval gilt metal presentation frame, backed with velvet, with a suspension ring and scroll below inscribed in black letter 'CHARLES 2nd'. The sitter is shown head and shoulders filling the frame apart from a…

  • Gascar, Henri
    1672-73
    GH7
    James, Duke of York, 1633-1701

    A full-length, highly coloured Baroque portrait slightly to left, facing to the right in a Roman costume representing Mars, the god of war. He sports a brown full-bottomed wig and gold armour of lapped plates and tassels. He also wears…

  • Lely, Peter
    circa 1672
    OP1950-593
    Sir Frescheville Holles, 1642-72, and Sir Robert Holmes, c. 1622-92

    A double portrait depicting Holles on the left, and Holmes on the right. Holles is painted three-quarter length, to the right, in a brown silk garment with red silk drapery round his shoulders. He wears a dark brown full-bottomed wig…

  • Vorsterman, Johannes
    circa 1680
    GH207
    Greenwich and London from One Tree Hill

    A painting proclaiming the prosperity and stability achieved through the restoration of the Stuart monarchy under Charles II, 1660-85. The view dates to about 1680 and is taken from One Tree Hill, north-east of Observatory or Castle Hill in Greenwich…

  • Unknown
    1665-73
    ZBA3082
    Carved coat of arms of James II (1633-1701) as Duke of York

    Carved coat of arms of James II (1633-1701) as Duke of York, in the style of Grinling Gibbons. The royal arms with the label for the second son surrounded by a garter badge, a royal crown above; the whole placed…