In relation to art, refers to artworks made in the period immediately after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 after ten years of Commonwealth

Sir Peter Lely, ‘Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare’ c.1679
Sir Peter Lely
Elizabeth, Countess of Kildare c.1679
John Michael Wright, ‘Portrait of Mrs Salesbury with her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth Bagot’ 1675–6
John Michael Wright
Portrait of Mrs Salesbury with her Grandchildren Edward and Elizabeth Bagot 1675–6
Francis Barlow, ‘Monkeys and Dogs Playing’ 1661
Francis Barlow
Monkeys and Dogs Playing 1661

Following the ten years of the Commonwealth, the monarchy in Britain was restored with the accession in 1660 of Charles II. Restoration usually refers to the whole reign of Charles II (1660–85) and often the brief reign of his younger brother James II (1685–8).

Following his accession, Charles II immediately appointed Peter Lely as his court painter. Lely had served Charles I in his final years, and had adapted with great success to the austerity of the Commonwealth period, and then had smoothly moved back into royal favour at the Restoration. His portraits of fashionably popeyed beauties exemplify the licentiousness for which Charles II and his court remain notorious.

John Michael Wright was also a significant figure and new subject matter appears in the compelling animal paintings of Francis Barlow.

See also


Meet 500 Years of British Art – Room: 1650–1730

Curator Tim Batchelor explores British Art from 1650–1730, including the first female professional painter, Mary Beale