The French connection
Luxury, portraiture and the court of Charles II
in From Republic to Restoration
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The luxury of the court of Charles II is well-known and usually seen as reflecting the personal failings of the king or as a reaction to the Puritanism of the preceding regime. This chapter argues, rather, that Charles II adopted luxury as a mode of power modelled on his cousin, the powerful French king, Louis XIV. Portraiture of the French and English courts shows striking and largely unexplored links as, under the influence of Louise de Kéroualle, Duchess of Portsmouth and reigning mistress in the English court in the 1670s, French painter Henri Gascar executed portraits of Charles II, Portsmouth, and others closely drawn from compositions in the court of Louis XIV. Although court portraiture thus changed within England (showing links, rather, with continental models), a different kind of continuity can be seen when objections to luxury mark observers of the Restoration court, from former republicans to royalists.

From Republic to Restoration

Legacies and departures

Editor: Janet Clare

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