Buckingham Palace

Prince and Patron at Buckingham Palace

Each summer Buckingham Palace opens its doors to the public while the Queen is away on her holidays.  You can tour the palace and see its richly decorated state  rooms and extraordinary art gallery.  But there is more!  A special exhibition accompanies the opening of the rooms and as it’s Prince Charles’ s 70th birthday this year, he gets to chose his favourite pieces of art  to put on display in an exhibition entitled Prince and Patron.

Entering Buckingham Palace is always a treat and they even laid out a red carpet for visitors to walk up!

Buckingham Palace

The tour takes you through the state rooms via the imposing staircase. You can see thrones and all manner of furniture, Sevres porcelains, chandeliers and art work including paintings by  Rembrandt, Canaletto, Hals and Rubens.  No photos are allowed in the state rooms but you can get a good idea of its splendour on their website: https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/the-state-rooms-buckingham-palace

The special exhibition, Prince and Patron,  features not only work from the Royal Collection that Prince Charles has chosen but also work by students and graduates of the 3 charities he has set up.  These are The Royal Drawing School,  Turquoise Mountain and the Princes’s Foundation of Traditional Arts.  The Royal Collection is the royal family’s art collection and is one of the largest in the world, spread across their palaces and galleries.

The works of art, furniture, books, paper, photographs, ceramics and textiles are displayed in one room dominated by the cedar wood pavilion created by Naseer Yasna (Mansouri) and the wood carving team at the Turquoise Mountain.  This sets the tone of how the schools are central to his thinking.   I really enjoyed the eclectic mix of old masters, items from around the world, new works and family portraits and photo which made it feel more personal and less like an art gallery.

Buckingham Palace

The walls are an impressive mix of styles and materials as this wall of  modern and older portraits on a tapestry illustrates with a side table and busts underneath.
Buckingham Palace

There are certainly classic pieces such as Zoffany’s Tribuna of the Uffizzi, commissioned by Queen Charlotte in 1772.  St Jerome depicted by George de la Tour in the 1620s came into the Royal Collection when Charles ll bought it to replenish the stocks after much of the royal’s art collection had been sold off in Cromwell’s time.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

Napoleon’s cloak was a surprise, seized from his baggage train at the battle of Waterloo in 1815. It’s a fine piece with embroidery and appliqued silver and gold thread. The lining is yellow silk brocade woven with pink roses and designs to represent an imperial eagle.

Buckingham Palace

Prince Charles commissioned the Royal Drawing School to produce a series of drawings of veterans and we see 4 of these to celebrate the lives of 4 heroes from the Battle of Britain on this 70th anniversary.

Buckingham Palace

Portraits and photos of Prince Charles’s family can be found all around the room and on the side tables with lovely photos of the Prince and his sons as well as Camilla holding onto her hat!

Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace

 

Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace

Many works are by students and graduates of the 3 schools. A couple which really caught my eye are by Jethro Buck and Hannah Rose, although so many other works both old and new are wonderful but too numerous to mention here – worth your visit tho’!  Jethro Buck’s beautiful painting shine with brilliant gold and are Japanese in feel but he is heavily influenced by Indian art.  Hannah Rose’s piece shows us 3 Yezidi who have escaped ISIS captivity which Prince Charles chose from the degree show at the School of Traditional Arts Degree Show to highlight his support for this community.

Buckingham Palace

 

Buckingham Palace

As you tour the state rooms there are items that the Prince has chosen to highlight under the Prince and Patron banner and these are noted in your audio guide so don’t miss the chance to admire the carpet in the picture gallery which was commissioned from a young designer as it’s quite beautiful.

I’ve been to several summer exhibitions at Buckingham Palace and this is the best one I’ve seen so I can happily recommend a visit.

Before you leave, why not grab one of the Queen’s finest cakes and a cup of coffee from the cafe in the gardens.  I love the attention to detail with the chocolate crown!

Buckingham Palace

To book online and get a timed slot for your entry, check out the Buckingham Palace website and allow plenty of time to enjoy the state rooms, special exhibition, cafe, extensive gift shop and the palace gardens.   This year’s opening runs to 30th September.   https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/the-state-rooms-buckingham-palace

Full disclosure: as is customary in the travel industry, I was invited as a guest to review the new summer exhibition. However my views are not influenced by this and I paid for my own cake and coffee!

The Painted Hall, Greenwich.

The Painted Hall in Greenwich is a wonderful sight at any time but during their restoration project you can climb a huge scaffolding and see the artwork close up.   There’s a massive conservation project going on before the hall reopens in full splendour next year.

What is the Painted Hall? They certainly didn’t spend too much time thinking up the name!  The enormous hall is covered in an array of extraordinary art work.  Dating from 1694, the hall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, the finest architects of their day, the paintings were added between 1707 and 1726 by Sir James Thornhill.  If that name sounds familiar it’s because he painted the interior of the dome at St Paul’s cathedral and  this major commission pre-dates St Paul’s so the Painted Hall was a huge boost to his career.   He was paid £1 per square yard for the wall work and £3 for the ceilings and as the whole lot came in at a whopping 40,000 square feet, which would have added up to a  reasonable sum – £6,685 apparently. The  21st century restoration is costing £10.5 million so let’s hope this work  lasts the 100 years their are banking on!  The tour costs are going towards this as well as a great deal of fundraising.

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Ice cream van

What’s on in London summer 2018

I send out a newsletter to subscribers with a preview of some of the great stuff on in London over the next 3 months but blog readers are able to enjoy it too. So here it is and I’m  happy to take any questions about anything featured.

IT’S YOUR LONDON NEWSLETTER FOR SUMMER 2018.

Here’s your Summer 2018 newsletter giving you a taster of the exciting events coming up in the next 3 months in our capital. If you want to hear more about anything listed (or other things you’ve heard about) send me an email (sue@itsyourlondon.co.uk) and I’ll get right back to you.

Have a look at Sue’s blog on the website (www.itsyourlondon.co.uk) to read about what I’ve been up to lately – a peek into life in London. I’m also on Twitter at @itsyourlondon so do join my 4000+ followers for the latest news and I’m on Instagram as @sueinlondon for some lovely photos.

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Serpentine Pavilion 2018

The Serpentine Pavilion 2018

The arrival of the Serpentine Pavilion each year is a sure sign that the London summer has started and yesterday I enjoyed the 2018 pavilion on a perfect June day in London.

Now in its 18th year, each Pavilion is strikingly different from every predecessor and the 2018 version is another delight. The architect is Frida Escobeda from Mexico City is the youngest person to be given this annual commission and only the second woman after the late Zaha Hadid, who was the first back in 2000 .  Frida said she was very surprised to be asked to take on this commission however she has proved more than worthy of this award as her work is a wonderful addition to the list of great Pavilions. She talked of the challenge of designing a temporary structure that would be in its site specific location for just 4 months and the would go on to an unknown location in a private collection.  I’d not realised Pavilions have a second life and it made me wonder where previous ones have ended up.

Serpentine Pavilion 2018

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National Portrait Gallery

Rebel Women at the National Portrait Gallery

I’m really familiar with the National Portrait Gallery, London, or so I thought until I was invited to preview their Rebel Women Trail.  Much to my shame and amusement I found a section of the gallery which had escaped me so I am very pleased to highlight it in this blog post.

The Rebel Women Trail is a brilliant way to highlight the number of portraits of women in the permanent collection, perhaps often overlooked.  The portraits in the trail were chosen by a select group of women featuring: Gillian Wearing; Miranda Hart; Liv LIttle; Sara Pascoe; and, Ali Smith.

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Mithraeum London

Stepping back into Roman London at the Mithraeum

Did you know you can visit a Roman temple right in the heard of London?  First discovered in 1954 in an old bomb site, the Roman Temple of Mithras was a sensation with huge crowds coming to see it but then the site was redeveloped and the temple was dismantled, moved and seemed to be an unloved treasure.   Then came Bloomberg, building a shiny new HQ on the same site and announcing plans to return the temple to its original position and open it up to the public again.   Bloomberg have delivered on their promise and a fully reconstructed temple is now open to the public and London has another important piece to add to its Roman jigsaw.

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Trafalgar Square 4th Plinth

A new arrival on Trafalgar Square’s 4th Plinth

London has wonderful art  in its museums and galleries but the art and sculpture in public spaces is a constant delight as we walk around. My favourite site is the  4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square which has extremely varied pieces which have changed every couple of years since 1999.  After sitting empty for 150 years what is known as the  Fourth Plinth began hosting some  temporary commissions and this has built into a stunning series of works, often provoking debate and controversy but always bringing something new to the square.

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