Today is the anniversary of the execution of King Charles I (or Charles Stuart as my Roundhead friends call him!). So it seems a good idea to mention an exhibition opening next month at the National Gallery.
A Masterpiece Recovered: Delaroche’s Charles I Insulted
The National Gallery, London
24 February – 23 May 2010
First shown at the Paris Salon of 1837, ‘Charles I Insulted’ is one of the great paintings on themes of English history for which Paul Delaroche become renowned.
The king is shown in the days before his execution in 1649, being bullied by Cromwell’s defiant troops.
The painting was housed at Bridgewater House in London where it was badly damaged during the Blitz. The painting was quickly consolidated, rolled up and evacuated to a house in the Scottish Borders, where it has remained safe and dry for almost 70 years. It was unrolled for the first time only in the summer of 2009.
Despite the damage – conservators counted some 200 tears in total – the picture was discovered to be almost entirely legible and has lost none of its emotive intensity. The painting is being cared for by conservators but is yet to be fully restored, so will retain its war wounds for visitors to examine.
You can see a video about the painting at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8513585.stm.