Le Roi à la Chasse (The King at the Hunt)

 

 

Painted by Van Dyck c.1635, this portrait of King Charles shows his fondness for the sport, as well as a charming informality to his dress and attitude. He twice went hunting at crucial moments in his campaign: before leaving Oxford to avoid possible capture by the besieging armies of Parliament, and a second time before the disastrous battle of Naseby in 1645.  He himself became not hunter but prey, in 1644 when Oxford came under threat, and again in 1646 when it was about to fall to the enemy.  He was 'on the run' for much of the rest of his life, attempting some daring escapes even as prisoner of Parliament, yet ultimately he could not escape the block.