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  • Edward Luttrell
Charles II, 1630 - 1685. King of Scots 1649 - 1685, King of England and Ireland 1660 - 1685
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Charles II, 1630 - 1685. King of Scots 1649 - 1685, King of England and Ireland 1660 - 1685 After 1671
  • Scottish Art
Charles II was a hugely popular monarch and portraits of him were widely collected and displayed. This mezzotint was made by Edward Luttrell, one of the first artists in Britain to use this new form of printmaking, and published by Edward Cooper, who specialised in selling them. Luttrell’s image of the king is after a portrait painted by Lely from about 1671. It shows Charles wearing a fashionable wig and cravat, but dressed in a stylised antique costume, making him appear as both a seventeenth-century monarch and a Roman general or emperor. Although we recognise the king’s features and the rather sardonic look on his face, the portrait also hints at a more serious side to the so-called ‘Merry Monarch’.

Glossary Open

Mezzotint

Mezzotint is a method of producing prints that was developed in the seventeenth century. A metal printing plate is roughened by scratching a tool across the surface to leave an even burr. When ink is applied to the plate, the burr holds it, and if a sheet in this state is printed at this stage, the resulting impression is entirely black. An image is created by smoothing parts of the abraded surface so that when ink is applied, the smoother areas do not have such a strong ink-holding capacity, and therefore do no leave such a dark impression. A mezzotint printmaker, therefore, works from dark to create light. Mezzotint produces high quality prints, as it allows for fine and subtle tones to be developed.

Print

An image pressed or stamped onto paper or fabric. This encompasses a wide variety of techniques, usually produced in multiples, although one-off prints, known as monoprints, are also included. The term is also applied to photographic images.

Mezzotint, Print

Details

  • Acc. No. SP II 21.44
  • Medium Mezzotint on paper
  • Size 20.65 x 16.84 cm
  • Credit Purchased 1947