This is the fourth home for James II statue. It began in Priory Gardens, then moved to Whitehall, and next to the forecourt of the Admiralty, before it arrived outside the National Gallery.

James II (1622-1701) succeeded his brother Charles II in 1685, and was an openly Catholic King. Although he had a distinguished military and naval career he lost his throne when he fled the country in fear of his life. James II had been challenged by the Protestant William of Orange, husband of his daughter Mary, who landed in England at the head of an army. He tried to regain his throne at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 but was defeated and escaped to France never to return.

The bronze statue by Grinling Gibbons, shows the King in Roman dress, and was put up in 1688, only two years before he was overthrown.



Contemporary photographs by Jeremy Young

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