THIS half-length, oil on canvas portrait from the Worcester City Museum collection shows Prince Rupert in Knight of the Garter robes.

It is one of 26 historical portraits donated in 1850 by Rev George Downing Bowles.

This group of paintings were the museum’s first coherent group of artworks – like many museums at the time, the popular subject for curators was natural history rather than fine art – and so this collection marked the very beginnings of the Museum’s interest in art and art history.

Nowadays, they are arguably the most significant part of Worcester’s Fine Art collection and are certainly some of the oldest artworks in its care.

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Prince Rupert, or Rupert of the Rhine, was born in Prague on December 17 1619, the younger son of Elizabeth ‘Winter Queen’ of Bohemia and a nephew of King Charles I.

Rupert became a soldier and fought in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), which proved to be useful military experience when he joined Charles I’s army in 1642 as a royalist cavalry commander during the English Civil War.

Despite his military experience, he was still just 22 years old when he led a thousand men in the Battle of Powick Bridge, Worcester.

The skirmish was a triumph for the royalists and Rupert himself – this was the beginning of his reputation as a great commander with a bold character.

Prince Rupert became commander-in-chief of the royalist land forces in 1644. During the same year, he led the relief of the siege of York but was defeated by the parliamentary army at Marston Moor, losing York and the north of England to the parliamentarians. Another blow came when he took part in the Battle of Naseby in June 1645, at which the royalists were defeated. Rupert held a series of British naval commands following the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, where he showed greater maturity in his military leadership than he had in his twenties. He died in London on the 29th November 1682 and is buried at Westminster Abbey.

Learn more about Prince Rupert in the Civil War Story exhibition at The Commandery – a permanent display which brings the dramatic clash of the royalists and parliamentarian armies to life.

The Commandery reopens to visitors on Tuesday, May 18, 10am-5pm, Tuesday to Saturday and 11am,3pm on Sundays.

The Commandery’s canal-side café, Commandery Coffee, is open serving hot lunches, snacks and drinks with outdoor seating available.

For more information, visit