'And when did you last see your father?' - glossary

'And when did you last see your father ?', WF Yeames, 1878



Charles I (1600 - 1649)

Charles I was born in 1600 and was King of Scotland and England from 1625 until his execution in 1649. He became unpopular at home because of wars with France and Spain, which caused him to raise taxes. Angered by the opposition in Parliament, he dismissed the Commons, which made the public angry. He lost the support of the Puritans because he persecuted those who did not share his religious beliefs. These factors led to the outbreak of the English Civil War in 1642.

The Civil War

The English Civil War (1642 - 1649) was the result of a quarrel between King Charles I and the English Parliament over who should have the last word in governing the country. King Charles' supporters were the Cavaliers or Royalists. The supporters of Parliament were called Puritans, Roundheads or Parliamentarians. The long war ended when King Charles I was executed in 1649.

Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658)

Oliver Cromwell was the leader of the supporters of Parliament who rebelled against King Charles I in the Civil War. After the King's execution in 1649, Cromwell took control of the country and became Lord Protector (or Leader) in 1653. He held strict Puritan beliefs.


Parliamentarians were supporters of Oliver Cromwell. They wanted the Parliament, not the King, to make the decisions in ruling the country. They were also known as Puritans and wanted to break away from the traditionalism of the Church of England and worship in a pure and simple way. They wore plain clothes and disapproved of frivolity and fun. They led very strict lives.


These people held Puritan religious beliefs. They wore plain clothes and kept their hair short, which led to them being called Roundheads. They supported Parliament against King Charles I. Oliver Cromwell was the leader of the Roundheads.

Royalists / Cavaliers

Royalists were people who were loyal to King Charles I. They were also known as Cavaliers. Unlike the Puritans they dressed in flamboyant clothes and led extravagant lives.

Narrative painting

This was a type of painting that was very popular in England in the 19th century. Stories and narratives were depicted in these paintings, which often explored historical themes. The viewer had to work out the story by interpreting the expressions and actions of the characters. The Victorians liked the fact that the more they looked at the picture the more was revealed. 'And when did you last see your father' is an excellent example of this type of painting.