Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline, 1608 - 1672. Lord Privy Seal
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Charles Seton, 2nd Earl of Dunfermline, 1608 - 1672. Lord Privy Seal about 1640
  • Scottish Art
Charles Seton was a leading covenanter – one who opposed the religious policies of King Charles I. Essentially a moderate, he nevertheless took part in his enemies’ unsuccessful campaign to free the king in 1648. After Charles’s execution, he supported Charles II and, at the Restoration in 1660, he was appointed to various high offices of state. At his death in 1672, his two sons, Alexander and James Seton, 3rd and 4th Earls of Dunfermline, succeeded him in turn. Both died without heirs, and the title became extinct when James Seton was outlawed for Jacobite sympathies. The impact of this portrait derives from Van Dyck’s almost abstract treatment of Seton’s robes, and the contrast of the stripes of gold brocade and white ermine with the scarlet cloth and white satin.

Glossary Open

Covenanters

People who sought to uphold the Presbyterian faith in Scotland in the 17th century. They adhered to a series of covenants, notably the National Covenant of 1638 which was signed in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh in opposition to Charles I’s attempts to introduce an English-style prayer book. The Covenanters’ opposition to bishops and royal control over the church brought them into conflict with the government and hundreds of Covenanters were executed.

Restoration

Re-establishment of the British monarchy in 1660 after Parliamentarian rule following the English Civil War years. The term also denotes the subsequent rule of Charles II from 1660 -1685.

Covenanters, Restoration

Details

  • Acc. No. PG 2222
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 220.70 x 134.00 cm (framed: 267.00 x 164.50 x 5.00 cm)
  • Credit Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund 1973