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Richard Lovelace

Richard Lovelace (1617-c. 1657) locks eyes with the viewer in this portrait which was painted shortly after his first imprisonment. A cavalier soldier and poet, Lovelace served in the Scottish expeditions during the Bishops’ Wars (1639-40) and fought alongside the Royalists in the English Civil War. He was imprisoned in 1642 after presenting a pro-Royalist petition to the House of Commons, during which he wrote the song ‘Stone walls do not a prison make.’ In 1648, Lovelace was again imprisoned, this time for nearly a year; when he was released in April 1649, King Charles I (1600-49) had been executed and the Royalist cause seemed lost. After his release, he worked on the publication of his collected poetry, which appeared under the title Lucasta in 1649.

William Dobson (1611-1646) was a portraitist and was regarded as one of the first significant English painters. After the death of Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), the court painter of King Charles I, Dobson’s career took off. He painted portraits of courtiers, diplomats, politicians, and even the future King Charles II (1630-85) as Prince of Wales. After the breakout of the English Civil War, Dobson would focus on portraits of soldiers, Royalist heroes, and the Cavaliers, such as this one.

Currently on display

William Dobson
Gallery 10
74.9 x 63.5 cm
Oil on canvas
Inscribed bottom right: Col. Lovelace
Cartwright Bequest, 1686
Accession number
Adopted by Charles Leggatt, 1995