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Collecting Old Master drawings

Charles II amassed a significant collection of Renaissance drawings during his reign. His interest in drawings may have developed during his years in exile, when he could have encountered collections such as that of his cousin Louis XIV.

At the core of Charles's collection were hundreds of drawings that had previously belonged to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, including celebrated albums of drawings by Hans Holbein and Leonardo da Vinci. These were probably presented to Charles by Arundel's grandson around 1670. Other Italian drawings in Charles's collection bear evidence of earlier English ownership, such as the star stamps associated with the collectors Nicholas and Jerome Lanier, and the price codes of the art dealer William Gibson.

Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-Bologna 1642)

The head of a woman

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The muscles of the back and arm

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543)

Frances, Countess of Surrey (1517-1577)

Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8-1543)

George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham (c.1497-1558)

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475-Rome 1564)

The head of the Virgin

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A bearded man in profile, confronted by a grotesque profile