Charles I Awaiting Trial with Princess Elizabeth and Prince Henry
(Alexandre-Marie Colin)


In his painting of Charles I Awaiting Trial with Princess Elizabeth and Prince Henry (cat. 4 fig. 87)[1] Colin , not surprisingly, has depicted the doomed King in a sympathetic light as Sir Walter Scott described him in Woodstock: “a worthy gentleman – a kind master – the best friend, the best father, the best Christian.”[2] The nineteenth-century literary vogue for English Civil War subjects was largely the result of Scott’s popularity, but many French writers, including Balzac and Hugo , also treated this era of Roundheads and Cavaliers.

In selecting the subject of Charles I awaiting trial with his children, Colin found a characteristically intimate and sentimental moment. Roy Strong wrote of Daniel Maclise ’s similar An Interview between Charles I and Oliver Cromwell (c.1836) that it was the “most compelling visual expression” of the “Victorian celebration of Charles I as ideal husband and father.”[3] This touching family scene had been described in Hume’s History of England with an accompanying illustration by Thomas Stothard (for the Bowyer edition) that could have served loosely as a model for Colin .[4] Hume’s error (followed in Stothard’s illustration) in describing the king’s daughter Princess Elizabeth as in her “tender years” and the Duke of Gloucester as “little more than an infant” has been rectified by Colin who depicted the children as they were in 1649 – thirteen and eight years old.[5] Well-known seventeenth-century portraits, notably those of Van Dyck and Lely , would have been Colin’s source for the appearance and costumes of his figures.

18 1/4 x 15 inches (46.3 x 38 cm.)
Oil on canvas
Where is It?
Stair Sainty Matthiesen, NY
Historical Period
Neoclassicism - 1780-1820 & Romanticism - 1810-1870
Historical events
1996-Romance and Chivalry: History and Literature reflected in Early Nineteenth Century French Painting.
Hardback book. 300 pages, fully illustrated with 90 colour plates and 100 black and white illustrations. Introduction (40 pages) by Guy Stair Sainty, twelve essays, catalogue, appendix of salons 1801-24 and bibliography. £50 or $80 inc. p.& p.

(Click on image above)
Price band
$5,000 - $50,000