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Charles II's collection of Old Master drawings

Charles II amassed a significant collection of Renaissance drawings during his reign. Although it is not known how they were acquired, contemporary accounts attest to their presence in the Royal Collection by the 1670s. Charles’s interest in drawings may have developed during his years in exile, when he could have encountered collections such as that of his cousin Louis XIV, who went on to form one of the largest collections of drawings in Europe.

At the core of Charles II’s collection were drawings that had previously belonged to the great collector Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel, including celebrated albums of drawings by Hans Holbein and Leonardo da Vinci that were probably presented to Charles by Arundel’s grandson. Many other Italian drawings in Charles’s collection bear evidence of earlier English ownership such as the star stamps associated with the collectors Nicholas and Jerome Lanier, and the price codes of the dealer William Gibson.

Parmigianino (Parma 1503-Casalmaggiore 1540)

A study of figures in an architectural setting

Parmigianino (Parma 1503-Casalmaggiore 1540)

A study of a figure in an architectural setting

Parmigianino (Parma 1503-Casalmaggiore 1540)

A study of a figure in an architectural setting

Parmigianino (Parma 1503-Casalmaggiore 1540)

A study of a figure in an architectural setting

Associated with Parmigianino (Parma 1503-Casalmaggiore 1540)

An album formerly containing drawings by Parmigianino

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

Oak (Quercus robur) and dyer's greenweed (Genista tinctoria)

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A bearded man in profile, confronted by a grotesque profile

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A caricature of a lawyer or an academic

Associated with Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The Leoni binding

Perino del Vaga (Florence 1501-Rome 1547)

St Mark and St John with putti

Taddeo Zuccaro (1529-66)

The Conversion of the Proconsul

Guido Reni (Bologna 1575-Bologna 1642)

The head of a woman

Attributed to Francesco Vanni (1563/5-1610)

A sleeping figure

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475-Rome 1564)

The head of the Virgin

After Michelangelo Buonarroti (Caprese 1475-Rome 1564)

An imaginary female head