William Dobson

Charles II, 1630 - 1685. King of Scots 1649 - 1685. King of England and Ireland 1660 - 1685 (When Prince of Wales, with a page) (About 1642)

About this artwork

Painted during the Civil Wars between Parliament and Charles I, the portrait shows a young prince as a military hero confident of victory. Charles, Prince of Wales, the eldest son of the king, holds a commander's baton in his right hand and places his other hand on a helmet, held by his page. In the left corner of the picture, the hideous head of Medusa, symbol of strife, stares out, literally petrifying the enemy. In the distant background, a battle rages. The painting probably commemorates Charles's presence at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642.

  • title: Charles II, 1630 - 1685. King of Scots 1649 - 1685. King of England and Ireland 1660 - 1685 (When Prince of Wales, with a page)
  • accession number: PG 1244
  • artist: William DobsonEnglish (1611 - 1646)
  • depicted: Charles II
  • gallery: Scottish National Portrait Gallery(On Display)
  • object type: Painting
  • subject: Royalty
  • medium: Oil on canvas
  • date created: About 1642
  • measurements: 153.60 x 129.80 cm (framed: 180.00 x 153.50 x 11.00 cm)
  • credit line: Purchased 1935
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve

William Dobson

William Dobson

Dobson was born in London and must have received a good classical education. Little is known of him until he emerged at the court of Charles I in Oxford in 1642, during the Civil War. Van Dyck had died in 1641 so Dobson was effectively the painter to the king and court. Less elegant than Van Dyck, his portraits often include learned references and at their best have a heroic solidity. Dobson returned to London in 1646, where he died in poverty.