Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 54

Plaque

ca. 1660 - 1670 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Tin-glazed earthenware was a material ideally suited for producing portrait plaques. It had the great advantage over other types of pottery in that it could be painted - in a technique similar to watercolour - with great freshness and spontaneity. Although the potteries of London did not aspire to hiring professional artists as at Delft in The Netherlands, some of their in-house decorators were competent enough at copying a medal or engraving. Thus several plaques of Charles II (1630-1685) and especially of Queen Anne (1665-1714) have survived.

People
When the young Charles II and Colonel Careless sheltered at the home of the Penderell family at Boscobel House in Shropshire after the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, it was suggested that they might hide from the searching Cromwellian soldiers by climbing up into 'a great oak', taking with them 'some victuals for the whole day viz. bread, cheese, small beer, and nothing else'. Thus they escaped, to become the subject of legend.

Symbolism
For every Royalist enduring the loss of Charles I's life, the exile of his son Charles II and the harsh rigours of the Commonwealth in the 1650s, the image of the King in the mighty oak, surrounded by the crowns of his three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, must have seemed like a talisman. Upon the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, this folk-art image became a potent symbol of loyalty, used on inn-signs, pottery and embroidery. It was later adopted by the Jacobites, loyal to the Stuart cause.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Plaque
  • Frame
Materials and Techniques
Tin-glazed earthenware, painted in colours
Brief Description
Delftware plaque showing Charles II, with the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland, in the branches of the Boscobel oak, British, probably London, about 1660-70. It has a frame made from the bark of an oak tree.
Physical Description
The head of Charles II surrounded by the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland appears in the branches of a tree which is flanked by two smaller trees and bears a scroll with the words THE ROYAL OAK, painted in manganese-purple, ochre, yellow and green. The border of running scroll pattern is in dark manganese-purple and yellow. The rim is in ochre. The body colour of the earthenware is buff. The glaze is white, that on the back being streaky and at two places rubbed off before firing (at '2 o'clock' and '10 o'clock'). There are no obvious stilt or peg marks. There is a simple round moulding close to the plaque edge. There are two suspension holes pierced before glazing in the border at the top. The plaque has a roughly-shaped frame cut from oak bark, smooth underneath.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 0.9cm
  • Width: 18.6cm
  • Length: 23cm
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This plaque commemorates Charles II's escape from Parliamentary troops, following the Battle of Worcester in 1651. It depicts the tree in Boscobel (Shropshire) in which he is supposed to have hidden, and the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland. The 'Royal Oak' was also a popular subject for ballads and prints and became a common name for pubs.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Accepted by H.M. Government in Lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2009
Summary
Object Type
Tin-glazed earthenware was a material ideally suited for producing portrait plaques. It had the great advantage over other types of pottery in that it could be painted - in a technique similar to watercolour - with great freshness and spontaneity. Although the potteries of London did not aspire to hiring professional artists as at Delft in The Netherlands, some of their in-house decorators were competent enough at copying a medal or engraving. Thus several plaques of Charles II (1630-1685) and especially of Queen Anne (1665-1714) have survived.

People
When the young Charles II and Colonel Careless sheltered at the home of the Penderell family at Boscobel House in Shropshire after the Royalist defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651, it was suggested that they might hide from the searching Cromwellian soldiers by climbing up into 'a great oak', taking with them 'some victuals for the whole day viz. bread, cheese, small beer, and nothing else'. Thus they escaped, to become the subject of legend.

Symbolism
For every Royalist enduring the loss of Charles I's life, the exile of his son Charles II and the harsh rigours of the Commonwealth in the 1650s, the image of the King in the mighty oak, surrounded by the crowns of his three kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, must have seemed like a talisman. Upon the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, this folk-art image became a potent symbol of loyalty, used on inn-signs, pottery and embroidery. It was later adopted by the Jacobites, loyal to the Stuart cause.
Bibliographic Reference
Archer, Michael. Delftware: The Tin-Glazed Earthenware of the British Isles. A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997. p.409, Cat. No.M.1. ISBN 0 11 290499 8
Other Number
M1. - <u>Delftware</u> (1997) cat. no.
Collection
Accession Number
C.360:1&2-2009

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 23, 1998
Record URL