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
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.
The first member of the royal family to visit India was Edward when he was Prince of Wales in 1875. The purpose of the tour was to establish and strengthen diplomatic links with the independent rulers of Indian Subcontinent who were not under the British crown. He visited more than 21 places over 8 months and met over 90 rulers and the gifts mounted up. Continue reading
The new exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery is called Charles ll: Art & Power and it really does what it says. Continue reading
The top holiday souvenir when you were on the Grand Tour in the 18th century was a painting by Canaletto as Venice was considered the cultural centrepiece of such an expedition! Luckily for those of us without such deep pockets, the Queen’s Gallery is staging a stunning show called ‘Canaletto & the Art of Venice’ which transports you back to Venice of those days.
It is always a treat to stumble across a new artist, especially one who has a fascinating life story to amplify your interest in their work. Maria Merian is a perfect example of this, a little known botanical artist from the 17th century who changed what we know about the life cycle of the butterfly through her exquisite art.
The Royal Collection is the British Royal Family’s art collection and is one of the largest and most important in the world. This holds so many pieces that only a fraction can be on display at any one time in the royal palaces across the UK. The Queen’s Gallery holds exhibitions throughout the year, curated to show a different range of these precious works.
The British are famous for their love of gardens and the Queen’s Gallery has picked up on this theme to bring us their latest exhibition Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden. In these sumptuous rooms you are taken through 600 years of garden history through paintings, tapestries, books and even chandeliers. Continue reading
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.
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