Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Lost Royal Art Collection of Charles I

From Country Life:
Between the restoration of the monarchy on May 1, 1660, and Charles II’s return three weeks later, frantic efforts were made to get the royal palaces into order to receive him. Only Whitehall and Hampton Court, the residences used by Oliver Cromwell, were fit for the new Court, but even they needed refurnishing. When a Dutch visitor, Lodewijk Huygens, was shown the former King’s apartments at Hampton Court, he was struck by the air of desolation: ‘The furniture had all been removed, except for the tapestries which had been behind the good ones to protect them from the damp of the walls.’

Almost nothing was left, because Charles I’s possessions, including one of the greatest art collections in Europe, had been sold during the Commonwealth. Parliament moved quickly to put history into reverse. On May 9, the House of Lords appointed a Committee for the Recovery of the King’s Goods, which issued an order that ‘All persons that have any of the King’s goods, jewels, or pictures’ had to return them within seven days. The proclamation was backed up by powers of search and seizure and, from August, by the offer of rewards for information about goods ‘wilfully concealed’.
Within days, queues were forming at the office in Whitehall appointed for the purpose and, by the middle of June 1661, more than 1,000 paintings had been returned or seized. No compensation was paid, as the sale of the King’s goods was exempted from the 1660 Act of Indemnity and Oblivion, which declared a general amnesty for acts committed during the Commonwealth. (Read more.)
Charles I and Henrietta Maria by Van Dyck
King Charles I by Van Dyck
Henrietta of France by Van Dyck
 More HERE.


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