Royal Armouries

Charles I (reigned 1625 – 1649)

Images

colour photo of a carved wooden head of Charles I

Carved wooden head of Charles I by Grinling Gibbons. English, 1686-7 (XVII.2)

  • colour photo of a carved wooden head of Charles I

    Carved wooden head of Charles I by Grinling Gibbons. English, 1686-7 (XVII.2)

  • monochrome newspaper illustration of an armoured figure on horseback

    Figure of King Charles I in the Horse Armoury, The Penny Magazine, 1840

  • colour photo of a carved wooden head of Edward III

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

Date: 1686 | Object number: XVII.2

Statistics

Object Provenance: English, Grinling Gibbons, 1686-7
Object Number: XVII.2
Max. height: 36 cm (14.1 in)
Max. circumference: 56 cm (22 in)
Weight: 1.675 kg (3 lb 11 oz)

Charles I (reigned 1625 – 1649)

Description

Construction

Possibly two parts – there is a crack running behind the face from the crown of the head to the jaw on the left side.

Type of Wood

Not oak

Appearance

Realistically painted, if somewhat muddy complexioned. Carved hair over crown and framing the upper face, and carved goatee beard with luxuriant upward swept moustache. Brown hair – facial hair and especially eyebrows blocked out with paint – and brown eyes.

Paint Analysis

Four paint finishes. Reputedly supplied by Grinling Gibbons in 1686-7, its ground layer is lead white with carbon black. The first flesh tones were pale, tinted with red lake & vermillion. Later schemes used red ochre, producing muddy, darker tones.

References

ACN Borg Heads and Horses, 1976 p.320, 324-5; plates LXXIIIb and LXXIVa. Illustrated ffoulkes 1916, vol I pl XVIII.

Other Notes

In 1686 Grinling Gibbons supplied a statue of wood with Charles I’s face carved upon it along with a carved wooden horse. Valentine Bayley painted the statues of both Charles II and I and Charles I’s horse (dun coloured) .

Statistics

Object Provenance: English, Grinling Gibbons, 1686-7
Object Number: XVII.2
Max. height: 36 cm (14.1 in)
Max. circumference: 56 cm (22 in)
Weight: 1.675 kg (3 lb 11 oz)

Related Objects

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

Grinling Gibbons and the Horse Armoury 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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