The Queen’s Gallery

Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 14th February 2016

Jan Steen, 'A Woman at her Toilet', 1663 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Jan Steen, ‘A Woman at her Toilet’, 1663
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

This is a really engaging exhibition that reveals interest in Dutch painting by various monarchs since the reign of Charles I. He was the recipient of a gift of Rembrandt’s painting An Old Woman, called ‘The Artist’s Mother’ in 1629 and also had paintings by Dutch artists in his legendary art collection.

Johannes Vermeer, 'Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman or 'The Music Lesson'', 1662-5 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Johannes Vermeer, ‘Lady at the Virginals with a Gentleman or ‘The Music Lesson”, 1662-5
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Vermeer’s ‘The Music Lesson’ was a part of Consul Smith’s collection which George III purchased in 1762.  His son George IV was an avid collector of Dutch art and many of the works on show were acquired by him.  In some ways he was following in the tradition of some of the 18th century French collectors such as the duc de Choiseul and one can certainly agree that French furniture of that period sits well with 17th century Dutch works.  There is also a small display of Sèvres porcelain – another of George IV’s favourites – decorated with scenes taken from Dutch paintings.

Willem van Mieris, 'The Neglected Lute', c.1708 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Willem van Mieris, ‘The Neglected Lute’, c.1708
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Some twenty or so works in this exhibition will move to the Dutch Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis in The Hague this coming autumn because that gallery has loaned Gerrit Dou’s The Young Mother to this show.  It is a painting which was given to Charles II in 1660 and when William of Orange became our King in 1688 he inherited this painting with the rest of the British Royal Collection.  The picture was sent to decorate Het Loo his new hunting lodge near Apeldoorn in the Netherlands and has remained there ever since.

Ludolf de Jongh, 'A Formal Garden: Three Ladies Surprised by a Gentleman', c.1676 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Ludolf de Jongh, ‘A Formal Garden: Three Ladies Surprised by a Gentleman’, c.1676
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

There is a sense of fun and humour in many of the paintings which depict scenes from everyday middle class life from the servants’ point of view and it is this element that makes it a suitable bedfellow for the adjoining Rowlandson exhibition.

 

High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace until 14th February 2016

Money Lenders, 1784 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Money Lenders, 1784
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Very little was safe from Rowlandson’s satirical wit as this exhibition shows be it society, fashion, politicians, love or the royal family.  The young George IV when Prince of Wales was a particular target because of his extravagance and dubious lifestyle.  Despite that it was George who started collecting these prints.  They provide a fascinating glimpse into a world that many of us have read about in the works of Jane Austen.

Four-leaf screen, pasted with satirical prints c.1806 Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Four-leaf screen, pasted with satirical prints c.1806
Royal Collection Trust/ (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

PS: Don’t forget you can enjoy free re-admission for a year by asking us to treat your ticket purchase as a donation:
1. Before you leave the site, please sign and print your name in the spaces provided on the reverse of your ticket.
2. Hand the ticket to a member of staff, who will stamp and validate it.
3. Retain your ticket for future visits.
Your ticket will only be accepted for re-admission if it has been stamped and signed on the day of your first visit

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