Royal Gifts

Royal Gifts – the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, Buckingham Palace, until 1st October 2017

Australian State Coach
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017. Photographer: David Cripps

From the moment you arrive at the Grand Entrance and espy the Australian State Coach, a gift to Her Majesty in 1988 from the people of Australia to mark the Australian Bicentenary, you know you are in for something rather exciting. Indeed many of the State Rooms are transformed by special displays of over two hundred gifts that have been presented to The Queen in the sixty-five years of her reign.

‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

You will discover a remarkable cross section of items and every gift reflects the donor whether a town, organisation or country.  Each in its own way is uniquely special. I am not going to mention examples because it is something to be experienced in person. I found it all fascinating and engrossing in a way that I had not expected but will remember for a long time.

A Royal Collection Trust member of staff adjusts the Vessel of Friendship, a model of the ‘treasure ship’ sailed by the 15th-century Chinese navigator and diplomat Zeng He. The model was presented to Her Majesty by President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China during the State Visit to Buckingham Palace in October 2015.
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

 

Members of Royal Collection Trust staff put the finishing touches to a display of gifts from around the United Kingdom as part of ‘Royal Gifts’, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.

In the Music Room is a charming display to mark the twentieth anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Many of the objects and mementos on and around her desk from her Sitting Room in Kensington Palace were chosen by the The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

A tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales in the Music Room, one of the State Rooms open to the public as part of the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace. The centrepiece of the display is the desk at which The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace, writing letters and reading official briefings and correspondence.
Credit: Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

www.royalcollection.org.uk

The Artist Depicted!

Portrait of the Artist, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 17th April 2017

Daniel Mytens, A Self-Portrait, c.1630 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Daniel Mytens,
A Self-Portrait, c.1630
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This extensive exhibition encompasses portraits of artists from the reign of Charles I to the present day. A whole variety of disciplines have been used in creating these works of art, including Hockney’s 2013 self-portrait created on an iPad.  It was a gift to Her Majesty The Queen to mark his receiving the Order of Merit.

Giovanni Battista Cipriani, Bartolozzi Sleeping,c.1770 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Giovanni Battista Cipriani,
Bartolozzi Sleeping,c.1770
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Several portraits were in the collection of Charles I such as the Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura) (c.1638–9) by Artemisia Gentileschi.  The Rembrandt portrait was acquired by George IV. Dating from the 1950s are the reciprocal portraits of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and Edward Seago.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Seago Painting, 1956-57 © HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh,
Seago Painting, 1956-57
© HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

Displayed in their entirety for the first time are the 224 miniatures created by the Italian artist Giuseppe Macpherson for Lord Cowper in the 1760s who presented them to George III.  They depict the artists’ self-portraits hung in the Vasari Corridor of the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence and which are the most important such group in the world.

Attributed to Francesco Melzi, Leonardo da Vinci, c.1515-18 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Attributed to Francesco Melzi,
Leonardo da Vinci, c.1515-18
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

I can only give a taste of what awaits you in this exhibition but I feel sure you will want to visit more than once – so don’t forget your ticket allows you free re-admission for a year if you ask them to treat your ticket purchase as a donation.

Johann Michael Wittmer, Raphael's First Sketch of the 'Madonna della Sedia', 1853 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Johann Michael Wittmer,
Raphael’s First Sketch of the ‘Madonna della Sedia’, 1853
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

Lucian Freud, Self-Portrait: Reflection, 1996 Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Lucian Freud,
Self-Portrait: Reflection, 1996
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

London – Adam Style

Robert Adam’s London, Sir John Soane’s Museum: 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2, until 11th March 2017

Adam office, drawing made for publication showing the Admiralty Screen, Whitehall, 1759

Adam office, drawing made for publication showing the Admiralty Screen, Whitehall, 1759

It is hard to believe that this is the first time that the work of Robert Adam (proposed and realised) in London has been focused on in a London museum. Whitehall’s Admiralty screen, Portland Place, the Adelphi, Lansdowne House, Buckingham House (now Palace), Kenwood and monuments in Westminster Abbey are among the projects on show.  The Museum has the largest collection of Adam’s surviving drawings.

Adam office, finished drawing showing a funerary monument to Major John André , Westminster Abbey, c.1780-82

Adam office, finished drawing showing a funerary monument to Major John André , Westminster Abbey, c.1780-82

As one contemplates these designs one is reminded how Adam designed complete, detailed schemes for his projects whether exteriors or interiors. I could not but wonder what he would make of these modern-day buildings with their huge expanses of glass which so clearly reveal the detritus of office or domestic living to passers-by and thus lose their aesthetic appeal.

Adam office, finished drawing showing a longitudinal section through the interior of an unexecuted scheme for Lloyds Coffee House, probably on Freeman's Court, Cornhill, c.1772

Adam office, finished drawing showing a longitudinal section through the interior of an unexecuted scheme for Lloyds Coffee House, probably on Freeman’s Court, Cornhill, c.1772

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm. Last entry 4:30pm

Adam office, design for door furniture for 31 Hill Street, c.1777-79

Adam office, design for door furniture for 31 Hill Street, c.1777-79

 

Adam office, design for an unexecuted urban palace for the Earl of Findlater on Portland Place, c.1771-73

Adam office, design for an unexecuted urban palace for the Earl of Findlater on Portland Place, c.1771-73

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.soane.org

‘Gibson of Rome’

John Gibson RA: A British Sculptor in Rome, Tennant Gallery and Council Room, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 18th December 2016

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866) Sleeping Shepherd Boy 1818 Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866 Plaster 110.50 x 47.0 x 94.0 cm Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866)
Sleeping Shepherd Boy
1818
Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866
Plaster
110.50 x 47.0 x 94.0 cm
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

It is a hundred and fifty years since the death of John Gibson RA (1790-1866) who was a leading neoclassical sculptor of his time. He was born in the Welsh town of Conwy but when still a child moved with his family to Liverpool. He was enthralled by Ancient Greek and Roman Art from an early age and his artistic talent and enthusiasm was recognised by a group of supporters who raised the wherewithal for him to go on a study trip to Italy in 1817.

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866) Cupid pursuing Psyche Before 1843 Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866 Marble relief 72.40 x 103.50 x 10.50 cm Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866)
Cupid pursuing Psyche
Before 1843
Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866
Marble relief
72.40 x 103.50 x 10.50 cm
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

In Rome he was able to study under the leading sculptor of the day, Antonio Canova and was urged by him to set up a studio in Rome.  Gibson did so and thanks to a European clientele decided to settle there saying: ‘In England my life would be spent in making busts and statues of great men in coats and neckties; here I am employed upon poetical subjects which demand the exercise of the imagination, and the knowledge of the beautiful.’.  His sculptures were also popular in this country where he was known as ‘Gibson of Rome’ and by 1844 (the year of his first return visit) he counted the Queen and Prince Albert among his patrons. In 1836 he was elected as a Royal Academician.

Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. (1802-1873) Portrait of John Gibson, R.A. ca.1850 Bequeathed by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., 1874 92.50 x 72.0 x 2.50 cm Oil on canvas Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond

Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A. (1802-1873)
Portrait of John Gibson, R.A.
ca.1850
Bequeathed by Sir Edwin Landseer, R.A., 1874
92.50 x 72.0 x 2.50 cm
Oil on canvas
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London; Photographer: John Hammond

He had bequeathed his artworks to the Royal Academy on his death in 1866 and works on show in this exhibition and others on display at Bodelwyddan Castle, Denbighshire, Wales are part of this significant bequest.

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866) Monument to Lady Leicester: Angel carrying infant and leading mother to heaven ca.1844 Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866 Plaster cast 181.0 x 126.50 x 18.0 cm Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

John Gibson, R.A. (1790-1866)
Monument to Lady Leicester: Angel carrying infant and leading mother to heaven
ca.1844
Bequeathed by John Gibson, R.A., 1866
Plaster cast
181.0 x 126.50 x 18.0 cm
Photo credit: (c) Royal Academy of Arts, London

This exhibition is complemented by a virtual exhibition ‘The Gibson Trail’ which has images and information on over one hundred and fifty objects in the collections of the Royal Academy, the Victoria & Albert Museum, Tate Britain, the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, the National Portrait Gallery and Buckingham Palace. The website www.gibson-trail.uk includes an interactive map showing the locations of Gibson’s works in the capital.

The Tennant Gallery and Council Room Dates and Opening Hours Exhibition open to the public: 8 September – 18 December 2016 Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 4pm Saturday – Sunday, 10am – 6pm Closed Monday

 www.royalacademy.org.uk

A Celebration of Royal Style

Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe, Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, until 2nd October 2016

A display of dresses from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe on display at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of dresses from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe on display at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This year visitors to Buckingham Palace are given an extra special treat with this exhibition. It is a wonderful way to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday and to celebrate her patronage of British fashion design from the replica of the original Christening gown worn since 1841 by succeeding members of the Royal Family to this year’s bright green outfit worn at Trooping the Colour.

Queen Elizabeth II standing in the White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace. Official portrait by Cecil Beaton, 1968 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Queen Elizabeth II standing in the White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace. Official portrait by Cecil Beaton, 1968
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

It explores every aspect of The Queen’s official life, including the robes that she and Princess Margaret wore to their parents’ coronation, her wedding dress and Coronation gown as well as her military attire. The specially created dresses and outfits for State visits and overseas tours such as the stunning evening dress her Majesty wore to on her first state visit to Germany in 1965 and which was inspired by the rococo decoration at Schloss Bruhl reveal the care and attention that goes into the detail of such outfits each time.

A display of evening wear from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe on show at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of evening wear from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe on show at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Also one sees the outfits the Queen has worn for family occasions such as the wedding of Princess Anne, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969 and the celebrations of her various Jubilees.  It is a hugely colourful exhibition as so many of The Queen’s clothes are in bright, strong colours so that she is easily visible to all, especially in a crowd.  There is also the striking dress she wore in the James Bond sequence that was a highlight of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in 2012. The corridor lined with examples of The Queen’s hats is rather a trip down memory lane as you will recognise many of them.  I must say that the song Ah, yes, I remember it well from Gigi came to mind.

Crystal and lace peach beaded cocktail dress by Angela Kelly. The dress and headpiece were worn by The Queen when she appeared in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics with James Bond. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Crystal and lace peach beaded cocktail dress by Angela Kelly. The dress and headpiece were worn by The Queen when she appeared in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics with James Bond.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This display is a really happy, nostalgic and heart-warming experience that aptly reflects the life and reign of a very special lady indeed – our Queen!

A display of The Queen's hats from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe at Buckingham Palace. Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of The Queen’s hats from Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe at Buckingham Palace.
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

A display of dresses on show at Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen's Wardrobe at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, including Her Majesty's wedding dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, 1947 (far left) Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

A display of dresses on show at Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace, including Her Majesty’s wedding dress by Sir Norman Hartnell, 1947 (far left)
Royal Collection Trust /© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

 

Please remember when purchasing a ticket that you can
Enjoy free re-admission for a year by asking us to treat your ticket purchase as a donation.
The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity.

Beguiling Butterflies

Maria Merian’s Butterflies, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 9th October 2016

Branch of West Indian Cherry with Achilles Morpho Butterfly, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Branch of West Indian Cherry with Achilles Morpho Butterfly, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This is an exquisite gem of an exhibition that delights the eye and informs the mind. The German-born Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) was both an artist and entomologist whose enquiring mind took her and her youngest daughter on the challenging two month voyage across the Atlantic to Suriname, a Dutch colony in South America in 1699. No mean feat at the age of fifty-two, especially as she had had to raise the funds to cover the cost herself. Already known for her 1679 tome on butterflies and moths, her purpose was to study its insects in their natural habitat.

Pineapple with cockroaches, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Pineapple with cockroaches, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust / (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

She and her daughter resided in the hot and humid climate of Paramaribo, the Colony’s capital, and went into the surrounding forests to garner specimens.  These they watched transform into butterflies, accurately recording the process in detailed drawings, which also include their host plants.  She also studied the lizards, snakes and crocodiles she came across too.

Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Illness forced her to return to Amsterdam in 1701, bringing specimens back with her.  Over the next four years she worked to bring her findings to publication with Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium being published in 1705 to great and deserved acclaim. The vellum plates on display – a mixture of printing and hand-painting – were luxury versions of the plates in Metamorphosis and were acquired by George III for his library.

Grape Vine with Vine Sphinx Moth and Satellite Sphinx Moth, 1702-03 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Grape Vine with Vine Sphinx Moth and Satellite Sphinx Moth, 1702-03
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

 

From Caledonia to the Continent

Scottish Artists 1750 – 1900: From Caledonia to the Continent¸The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 9th October 2016

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, c.1764-9 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Allan Ramsay, Queen Charlotte with her two Eldest Sons, c.1764-9
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

This is a somewhat personal exhibition in the fact that it reveals royal patronage of Scottish artists starting with George III’s of Allan Ramsay who painted the King’s well known State portrait and was appointed Principal Painter in Ordinary to His Majesty.  He also painted a delightful picture of Queen Charlotte and her Two Eldest Sons which conveys an atmosphere of domesticity in what is obviously a royal portrait.

Sir David Wilkie, The Penny Wedding, 1818 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Sir David Wilkie, The Penny Wedding, 1818
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

One can easily see why George IV, as Prince Regent and King, liked the work of Sir David Wilkie since his scenes of everyday Scottish life echo the Dutch genre paintings so loved by the monarch. Following Wilkie’s trip to Continental Europe after a nervous breakdown he returned with a much more open style of painting and in 1828 George purchased five of his continental works, including ones set in Spain and appointed him as his Principal Painter in Ordinary. A post that Wilkie continued to hold under William IV and Queen Victoria until his death in 1841.

James Giles, A View of Balmoral,1848 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

James Giles, A View of Balmoral,1848
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

David Roberts, A View of Cairo, 1840 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

David Roberts, A View of Cairo, 1840
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert (Prince Consort) were active supporters of the Arts and some Scottish artists such as Sir Joseph Noël Paton (1821–1901), David Roberts (1796–1864), James Giles (1801–1870) and John Phillip (1817–1867) painted pictures that were Christmas and birthday presents between the couple.  Queen Victoria favoured Scottish landscapes while Prince Albert, an admirer of early Italian art, was impressed by the works of William Dyce. Their interests also included works depicting the Middle East and Spanish life.

William Dyce, The Madonna and Child, 1845 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

William Dyce, The Madonna and Child, 1845
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

John Phillip, The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

John Phillip, The Letter Writer of Seville, 1854
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

In 1888 the future Edward VII was presented with two albums of works by member of the Glasgow Art Club when he went to open the Glasgow International Exhibition of Science, Art and Industry in the city’s Kelvingrove Park, including the one shown here.

Roberts Macaulay Stevenson, Romance, 1888 Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Roberts Macaulay Stevenson, Romance, 1888
Royal Collection Trust (C) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

There is also a group of furniture – a writing table and a pair of tables – supplied by the Edinburgh firm of Young, Trotter and Hamilton to the Palace of Holyroodhouse for the comte d’Artois, younger brother of Louis XVI and the future Charles X of France.  Fleeing from large debts on the Continent he was offered shelter at Holryroodhouse in 1796 and remained there until 1803.

Writing table, 1796, mahogany and boxwood Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

Writing table, 1796, mahogany and boxwood
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

 

www.royalcollection.org.uk