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Attributed to Jan Blommendael (c.1650-1699)

Charles I (1600-1649) c.1700-50

Marble | 86.7 cm high (excluding base/stand) | RCIN 35856

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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  • White marble bust of Charles I, wearing a breastplate, a wide, laced collar, a slashed doublet and sash tied at his right shoulder. The badge of the Order of the Garter is suspended on a ribbon round his neck. The bust is supported on a later marble pedestal incorporating a tablet carved with the King's royal coat of arms and supporters.

    This bust was made as a companion to a bust of William III (RCIN 35857) attributed to William's court sculptor Jan Blommendael. It has long been thought to be a copy of the bust of Charles I made by Gianlorenzo Bernini in 1636, which was destroyed in the Whitehall Palace fire of 1698. Opinion remains divided on this point: This bust does not show the sophistication, the illusionism or the exceptionally fine cutting characteristic of Bernini's work of the 1630s. It is also questionable whether Blommendael, who was never in England, may have had an opportunity to model a copy of Bernini's bust before its destruction. In his own portraiture, William III was inclined to follow the poses and settings designed for his grandfather Charles I, and it is possible that he commissioned these two busts as an assertion of his legitimate right to the throne. Both busts may both be copies. Their condition has been affected by display in the open air during part of their history.

    First recorded in the collection of E.J. Coleman of 32 Grosvenor Square, London. Sold Christie's, London, 30 July 1881, lot 104 (wrongly stated in the catalogue to have been at Newstead Abbey); B.W. Currie, Minley Manor, Hants. Sold Christie's, London, 27 March 1937, lot 63 (with RCIN 35856). Bought by HM Queen Elizabeth.

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    86.7 cm high (excluding base/stand)

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