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Prince Rupert of the Rhine

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    London (made)
    London (published)

  • Date:

    ca. 1646 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Faithorne, William (engraver)
    Dobson, William, born 1611 - died 1646 (artist)
    Rowlett, Thomas (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving, ink on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery, case 1

Object Type
This print is an engraving, an image made by cutting lines into the surface of a flat piece of metal, inking the plate and then transferring the ink held in the lines onto a sheet of paper.

This is a portrait of Prince Rupert (1619-1682), nephew of Charles I (ruled 1625-1649). The portrait is set in an oval frame, a commonly used device in 17th-century paintings. Over the Prince's left shoulder is a view of a distant landscape. He is wearing clothes that suggest a wealthy person of high social status, although the background setting indicates a man hardened to the outdoor life in sometimes inhospitable terrain.

William Faithorne (possibly born in 1616, died 1691) engraved this print after a painting by William Dobson (1611-1646). Dobson was portrait painter to the Royalist court when it was based in Oxford during the English Civil War of 1642-1646. The painting is now lost. The date of this print is thought to be around 1646, a year after Prince Rupert had been dismissed by Charles I as General of His Majesty's Army. He had failed to hold the city of Bristol against the Parliamentarian forces. The odds had been stacked against him because his forces were outnumbered nine to one and lacked the support of the local population. The original portrait must have been painted before Prince Rupert went into exile late in 1645, after a court martial that acquitted him 'of the least want of courage and fidelity'.

Ownership & Use
This print carries the lettering 'Are to be sold by Thomas Rowlett at his Shop near Temple Bar'. This information was a way of advertising where examples of the print could be purchased, so that someone being shown an example owned by a friend would know where to obtain a copy.

Physical description


Place of Origin

London (made)
London (published)


ca. 1646 (made)


Faithorne, William (engraver)
Dobson, William, born 1611 - died 1646 (artist)
Rowlett, Thomas (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving, ink on paper


Height: 28.8 cm, Width: 19.4 cm

Object history note

Engraved in London by William Faithorne after a painting by William Dobson; published in London by Thomas Rowlett (active 1645-1649)

Descriptive line

Engraving Prince Rupert of the Rhine (1619-1682), engraved in London by William Faithorne after a painting by William Dobson, and published in London by Thomas Rowlett, ca. 1646

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Cheap prints of this period fuelled political and religious debate. The more expensive prints gathered here also suggest anxieties over threats to the established church. Religious images banned in public remained permissible between the covers of a book. Two printmakers were prominent. Hollar and his copyists recorded the topography and contemporary life of London. Faithorne, originally a Royalist, returned from banishment during the Commonwealth to make portraits of the gentry and leading scholars. [27/03/2003]


Printing ink



Subjects depicted

Men; Portraits


Prints; Portraits; Royalty


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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