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British School, 17th century

Charles II (1630-1685) 1667

Watercolour on vellum laid on card with a gessoed back | 10.3 x 8.6 cm (support, canvas/panel/str external) | RCIN 420643

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A number of miniatures of Charles II said to be by Samuel Cooper were acquired from Rundell, Bridge and Rundell in the early-nineteenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century this miniature had come to be regarded as one of Cooper's finest portraits of Charles II, but it has been more recently acknowledged as a copy derived from his work to which a signature has been added. It is based on an unfinished sketch of c. 1665 (private collection). Not only are other miniatures dependent on this source, but also key works in oil such as the portrait of the head of the king by Verrio in The Sea Triumph of Charles II (Royal Collection). The miniature remains an impressive depiction of the king regardless of questions over its attribution, although the figure is constrained by the tight octagonal format, which is unusual for the period. It may have been cut down from a larger oval during the nineteenth century. Inscribed on the right with the false signature and dated: 'S.C. 1667'