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Attributed to Edward Pearce (c. 1630-95)

Charles II (1630-1685) 1675-80

Terracotta | 70.0 x 56.0 x 32.0 cm (whole object) | RCIN 39248

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  • Terracotta bust of Charles II, his head turned to the left, wearing a lace cravat an lace floral drape across his shoulders. On a plain circular column.

    This terracotta bust of Charles II was probably made as a model for a final marble version, although no copies from it are known. The king is depicted wearing contemporary dress decorated with a pattern of stylised tulips, a rich lace cravat and a wig. His serious expression and the po
    sitioning of his head, turned to the right and slightly raised, emphases his dignity and authority. The carver was probably Edward Pearce (or Pierce), an architect and sculptor working in the building boom that followed the Restoration and the Great Fire of London. His practice encompassed both architectural design for ecclesiastical and domestic buildings and the execution of ornament in wood and stone, some of which was carried out at the royal palaces. He was the master mason, or main building contractor, for four of Sir Christopher Wren's churches in London and for parts of St Paul's Cathedral. Pearce made few busts, but that of Thomas Evans, in marble, dated 1688, in the collection of the Painter-Stainers Company, is in many ways close to this example. There are notable similarities in the arrangement of the clothing and the cutting and pouncing to suggest the different textures of the textiles. Pearce's marble bust of Dr Baldwin Hamey, MD, in the collection of the Royal College of Physicians, dated 1675, also displays similar characteristics in the treatment of clothing. On the basis of this likeness, it has been suggested that the terracotta probably dates from 1675-80. The high skilled modelling of a stoneware portrait bust of Prince Rupert, now in the British Musuem, is also attributed to Pearce.


    Text adapted from Charles II: Art and Power (2017).

    Provenance

    Purchased for George IV, 1829.

  • Medium and techniques

    Terracotta

    Measurements

    70.0 x 56.0 x 32.0 cm (whole object)

  • Category