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Exhibition preview

On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, Charles II made his triumphant return to London and to the throne of England, ending more than a decade of austere Republican rule.  Over the next 25 years the arts would play a critical role in reinforcing Charles' authority.

A selection of the items that were commissioned or acquired by Charles, as well as items returned to the collection following the Inter-regnum, are presented below.

John Michael Wright (1617-94)

Charles II (1630-1685)

Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-77)

The Coronation of Charles II

Henry Greenway (free 1648)

Alms dish

Orazio Gentileschi (Pisa 1563-London 1639)

A Sibyl

Michiel Jansz van Miereveld (Delft 1567-1641)

A Bearded Old Man with a Shell

Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c. 1525-1569)

Massacre of the Innocents

Georges de la Tour (1593-1652)

Saint Jerome

Maarten van Heemskerck (Heemskerk 1498-Haarlem 1574)

The Four Last Things

Lorenzo Lotto (Venice c. 1480-Loreto 1556)

Andrea Odoni

Giulio Romano (Rome c. 1499-Mantua 1546)

Portrait of Margherita Paleologo

Antonio Verrio (c. 1639-1707)

The Sea Triumph of Charles II

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Oak (Quercus robur) and dyer's greenweed (Genista tinctoria)

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A bearded man in profile, confronted by a grotesque profile

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475-Rome 1564)

The head of the Virgin

After Thacker, Robert (fl.1670)

Prospectus Intra Cameram Stellatam

Jacob Huysmans (c. 1633-96)

Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705)

Abraham Blooteling (1640-90) after Sir Peter Lely (1618–1680)

Charles II

John Michael Wright (1617-94)

John Lacy (d. 1681)