Bust of Charles II in the V&A Museum, London
FEATURED: “Statues and Such” – 30SEP2012
This sculpture was almost certainly influenced by the similarly flamboyant portrait of Francesco d’Este by Bernini in Modena. Another version, dated 1682, is at Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire.
This over-life size bust, dated 1684, was probably inspired by an engraved or painted source. It may be based on a portrait of Charles II dating from about 1670, by the Dutch painter Simon Verelst.
Honor‚ (Onorato) Pelle was probably a native of Marseilles, and is likely to have trained under the French sculptor and painter Pierre Puget (1620-1694). Pelle seems to have spent most of his working life in Genoa, where he undertook commissions for churches, including a silver statuette of St John the Baptist.
Charles II had spent much of his youth on the Continent, and favoured continental arists. Although it is not known how or why this bust was commissioned, it is clearly in the tradition of flamboyant and imposing portraits of monarchs, and would have unambiguously asserted the King’s status.