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.  He was one of the great collectors of paintings and decorative  arts of his age but also the subject of much satirical ridicule for his lifestyle and for being out of touch with his people.  His reign was relatively short (1820-1830) but before this he was Prince Regent as his father George III was deemed unfit due to his mental health so George the younger effectively ruled from 1811.  This exhibition features of over 300 works from the Royal Collection gives us new and rich insights into the life of George IV.

George was a big spender but he was able to pick up a good deal of art, furniture and ceramics after the upheavals on the Continent following the French Revolution flooded the market with work which had belonged to the French aristocrats.  The furniture is grand, elaborate and somewhat over the top!

George IV at Queens Gallery George IV at Queens Gallery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Face to face with a golden tiger at the Queen’s Gallery!

All that glitters is definitely gold at the new exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery, London. One stunning piece which keeps drawing you back is the golden head of a tiger which stares out at you with its rock crystal eyes  Tipu Sultan, an Indian rule,  said that it was ‘better to live a single day as a tiger than a thousand years as a sheep’ and used the tiger as a symbol of his power, decorating his throne with gold heads and as a motif on his guards’ uniforms. This magnificent beast dates from the late 18th century and although the throne that he was part of was broken up, his head survived and was given to William lV so now part of the Queen’s Collection in Windsor.
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It’s a good year for Georges!

George is a popular royal name and we have a potential future King George, baby Prince George, making a big impact on the world. Britain has had 6 King Georges so far and one day he will most likely be number 7!  This year London is celebrating all things George as it’s 450 years since George 1st ascended to the British throne in 1714 and started off the Georgian era.  Many of the major museums in London are holding exhibitions which are marking this event and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about how the first King George came to the throne and how he and his descendants lived.  Continue reading