George IV at Queens Gallery

George IV at the Queen’s Gallery

Scandals with the royals are nothing new and the George IV exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery gives us a peek into his life showing us his good points and what made him popular and a figure of fun.  He was famous and unpopular because of his extravagant lifestyle, his womanising and drinking but his collecting habit has left us with an extraordinary legacy, some of which is on display in this exhibition. Continue reading

Rainbow Portrait

Elizabeth 1’s lost dress at Hampton Court Palace

There’s rare and there is the only surviving item!   Elizabeth 1 is such a famous part of our history that I assumed we had many examples of her gowns tucked away in the royal collections. But it seems that is not the case and her finery has been lost in the centuries since her death in 1603, until something happened!  The Bacton Altar cloth, which has just gone on display in Hampton Court Palace, may just be the missing piece of history.

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Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman at the National Portrait Gallery

Cindy Sherman’s major show at the National Portrait Gallery looks back at her long career at the peak of world photography. She is most well known for taking pictures of herself but this is not a world of selfies as she creates a wide range of personas using herself as the model, many of which are unrecognisable as the same person. This show covers her 40 year career with examples from each of her major series of work. Continue reading

Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The Serpentine Pavilion 2019

The annual opening of the Serpentine Pavilion is a real sign that we are properly into the London summer, even if the weather is not always as warm as we’d like.

Each year a new architect is chosen to bring their vision of a temporary pavilion to the site next to the original Serpentine Gallery. This competition has been going since  2000 when the first winner was Zaha Hadid and it has grown into a showcase for emerging talent from around the world. Continue reading

Victoria at Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria’s childhood home

Kensington Palace has spruced up the rooms where Princess Victoria grew up to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth.  Alongside these permanent rooms is a temporary exhibition Victoria: Woman and Crown which examines her role as matriarch and monarch. Victoria spent her formative years at Kensington Palace and became Queen here before moving the short distance to Buckingham Palace, the first sovereign to live there. Continue reading

Leonardo da Vinci drawings

Da Vinci’s drawings grace the Queen’s Gallery

The Queen owns priceless art treasures and thanks to her ancestors’ collecting habits the Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.

The Royal Collection contains the greatest collection of da VInci drawings, a group of 550 drawings that have remained together since his death in 1519 and rarely shown so they are in excellent condition.  At his death in 1519, Da VInci left all his drawings to his pupil Francesco Melzi who kept them faithfully until his own death when the sculptor Pompeo Leoni acquired them and mounted them in at least 2 albums. By 1630 one of the albums had reached England into the collection of the Earl of Arundel until around 1670 when Charles ll acquired it, perhaps as a gift from the Earl but ‘acquired’ is a little vague in the royal context! King Charles II was keen buyer and acquirer of art and his interest in these drawings was a master stroke.  In the 1900s they were removed from the album but luckily it was kept and preserved and here it is, on proud display.  Its contents remain an unbroken group as they were in 1519.

Leonardo da Vinci drawings

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