Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Bust - Bust of Charles, Prince of Wales

Bust of Charles, Prince of Wales

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Lent anonymously

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 117, case 7

This bust captures the future King Charles II (1630-1685) as a young boy, just two years before the outbreak of Civil War in England. The young prince’s armour is richly decorated with symbolic meaning representing the power of kingship and perhaps the right of succession. The lion and the unicorn are bearers of the King’s standard and were often incorporated in Royalist objects to signify support for the crown. The crown and feathers are identifiable with the role of Prince of Wales. It is the only signed work by the sculptor Francesco Fanelli.

Physical description

Bust of Charles, Prince of Wales at ten years old. The young prince has long wavy hair and wears armour richly decorated with royal emblems of lions and unicorns, a crown with three feathers with a plain collar folded at the neck. The decorative circular socle is inscribed.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1640 (made)


Fanelli, Francesco (maker)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions



Charles, Prince of Wales, 1640 (front) Francesco Fanelli, the Florentine, Sculptor to the King of Great Britain (back)


Height: 58.5 cm, Width: 41 cm, Depth: 24 cm

Object history note

The bust was owned and therefore probably commissioned by William Cavendish, Earl and later 1st Duke of Newcastle, a gifted aristocrat who was responsible for the prince’s education. He was a patron of the arts as well as a Royalist military leader. Following defeat at the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, Cavendish and his family went into exile in Europe until the Restoration.

The sculptor Francesco Fanelli arrived in England from Genoa in around 1630 and in 1632 he was granted a retainer by Charles I. On this bust Fanelli signs himself as sculptor to the King, although his role as a royal sculptor is unclear as no records of large-scale commissions for Charles I survive.

Fanelli was instead renowned for his statuettes and some equestrian examples were owned by William Cavendish. Equestrian models by Fanelli can be found in the V&A’s collection including A Mounted Turk attacked by a Lion (A.4-1953). A Cupid on Horseback and a St George and the Dragon (see A.37-1952 and A.5-1953 for examples) were also recorded by Abraham van der Doort in 1639 in an inventory of Whitehall Palace, where the sculptor was described as ‘ffrancisco the one eyed Italian’. These versions are still in the Royal Collection.

Details of Fanelli’s fate remain uncertain. According to the eighteenth-century engraver and antiquary George Vertue, Fanelli was said to have 'livd and dyd in England'. It was later assumed that he left the country close to the outbreak of the Civil War, in around 1641, when he is thought to have fled to France along with other artists. Engravings of his designs for fountains and grottoes were published in Paris in 1661, and in Cornelis de Bie’s biography of artists dated 1661 Fanelli is described as still living.

Descriptive line

Bust of Charles, Prince of Wales, bronze, Francesco Fanelli, dated 1640, London, England

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Pope-Hennessy, John, 'Some Bronze Statuettes by Francesco Fanelli', in: The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 95, No. 602 (May 1953), pp.156-162, reprinted in Essays on Italian Sculpture (London and New York, 1968) pp.166-171, esp. p.168

Schmidt, Eike D., in Boström, Antonia, ed., The Encyclopedia of Sculpture, Vol. 1 (New York and London, 2004) pp.543-4

Howarth, D., ‘Charles I, Sculpture and Sculptors’, in Macgregor, A., ed., The Late King’s Goods, (London and Oxford, 1989) pp.93-5
Van Beneden, Ben and De Poorter, Nora (eds) Vorstelijke vluchelingen: William en Margaret Cavendish in het Rubenshuis 1648-1660, exh. cat. (Antwerp, 2006), p.264
Avery, Charles, Francesco Fanelli, King Charles I a unique bronze statuette (Maastricht, 2011) p. 4

Labels and date

Bust of Charles, Prince of Wales
Signed and dated 1640
Francesco Fanelli (1577–about 1661)

This bust captures Charles II at ten years old. The young prince wears armour decorated with royal emblems symbolic of kingship. The bust was commissioned by William Cavendish, Earl and later 1st Duke of Newcastle, a gifted aristocrat who was responsible for the prince’s education. It is the only signed work by Francesco Fanelli, sculptor to the king.

England, London
Signed in Latin on the socle: (front) ‘Charles Prince of Wales’ and dated 1640; (back) ‘Francesco Fanelli, the Florentine, Sculptor to the King of Great Britain’
On loan from a private collection.
[June 2014]

Production Note

Signed and dated.








Sculpture Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.