17th-century actress Nell Gwynn began her career as an orange seller on the streets of Drury Lane. As one of the most well-known actresses on the Restoration stage, she drew attention from King Charles II. This page introduces a selection of items in the Folger collection related to Nell Gwynn, her life, and her times.
From the Collection
It’s unlikely that the Duchess of Portsmouth, also known as Louise de Keroualle, was the real author of this 1682 letter. de Keroualle was an actress and rival to Nell for Charles II’s affections.
This engraving, printed 1672, depicts Charles II as king. The image shows him as most of the country saw him: “the most High, most Excellent, and most Mighty Monarch Charles the Second.”
We will continue adding more to this page over time. Stay tuned!