I thought I should see the exhibition on Charles II at the Queen’s Gallery, which is the companion to ours on Charles I. It starts with a portrait of Charles I by Edward Bower who is thought to have worked for Van Dyck and was commissioned by parliament:-
It’s a very different style of exhibition from ours, much more straightforwardly historical, rich in prints and conveying the slightly louche aspects of Charles and his court, as well as the tremendous interest in optics, science and engraving and the great opulence of Hugh May’s interiors at Windsor Castle.
This is Charles II in an engraving after Lely:-
And a drawing by Samuel Cooper, done from the life just after the Restoration:-
I had forgotten how wonderful the engravings are in Hooke’s Micrographia:-
The final room gives a clear description as to how Charles II re-acquired so much of his father’s collection by setting up a committee of the House of Lords with the task of recovering them, but meanwhile acquiring a large group of works from the picture dealer, William Frizell in Breda.