Reimagining the family of King Charles I in nineteenth-century British painting

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Abstract / Description of output

The nineteenth century represents a formative period for the development of historical consciousness in Britain, with texts and, increasingly, images shaping perceptions of the past. This article examines how Stuart history was interpreted and experienced, through a series of historical genre paintings of King Charles I and his family. It explores how Anthony Van Dyck’s depiction of politicized domesticity in royal portraiture was revised and reworked in these later images. Re-imagining Stuart family life, they extended processes of remembering, enlisting audiences in an active, participatory engagement with the past. Probing temporal, visual and verbal alignments and connections, the article contributes further dimensions to understanding of historical representation. It argues that these paintings stirred the viewer’s intellectual, emotional and associative responses to encourage a sense of proximity. Establishing an episodic narrative, they initiated processes of recollection and recognition, they reflected sympathetic historiographies and they encouraged a shared community with their pictorial protagonists. By so doing, nineteenth-century artists diminished historical distance and fashioned a familiarized past.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalThe Historical Journal
Issue number4
Early online date6 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


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