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John Ferrour's portrait of King Charles I hangs above the platform at the Poetry Festival in the Town Hall, King’s Lynn.

King Charles I (1600–1649)

King Charles I (1600–1649) 1690

John Ferrour (b.1654 or earlier)

It is based on the frontispiece to the Eikon Basilike, a pious defence of the divine right of kings and a forgiveness of the regicides, supposedly written by the king himself and published ten days after his execution.

Here is a poem inspired by this painting:

The body has no weight. A hidden knee
Supports his general impulse to ascend,
And kneeling’s not in question. What we see
Is a soul arising. Nothing to offend
In silken folds and earthly crown discarded,
In head and hands too self-absorbed for prayer,
The space before the heart gracefully guarded
By delicate fingers plucking a lute in air. 

Beneath this tragic eikon, which defines
Self-justifying memoir as devotion
('Conscience before kingdoms'), the poets’ lines
Conjure a not dissimilar emotion.
George, Gavin, Peter, Anthony, Kit,
Perhaps you remembered (and remember) it? 

John Fuller, poet and Fellow Emeritus at Magdalen College, Oxford