Charles I When Duke of York

Image credit: Bristol Museums, Galleries & Archives

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This is the earliest known portrait of the future Charles I. It was painted when he was just four or five years old, probably soon after he had been created Duke of York in January 1605, during celebrations for Twelfth Night. Charles, a sickly child, holds a short partisan (staff) and behind him are the knightly accessories of gauntlets and helmet. He wears a collar of the type which came into fashion around 1605 and the long skirts worn by young children of both sexes. Robert Peake painted Charles's head and hands while his studio, as was common practice, completed the drapery and background. The paint was enriched with precious metals: silver (now darkened) was used in the stripes of the dress and gold leaf on the curtain.

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery



Charles I When Duke of York




oil on panel


H 113 x W 83.8 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

purchased with the assistance of the Art Fund and the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, 1974

Work type



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