Canaletto & the Art of Venice

Canaletto & the Art of Venice, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. London SW1, until 12th November 2017

Canaletto, Piazza San Marco looking west towards San Geminiano, c.1723-4, part of a set of six views of Venice.
Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

The two key figures in this remarkable show are Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice, and George III. The former was also Canaletto’s agent and dealer encouraging the artist to depict Venetian life for the Grand Tour visitors, especially the English ones, in the first half of the 18th century. The latter in 1762 bought almost all of Smith’s collection of paintings, drawings, medals and books which included Canaletto paintings, drawings and etchings as well as the works of other Venetian painters of the day.

Canaletto, The Pantheon, 1742, part of a set of five Roman views.
Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This superb exhibition proves how wise George III was and how fortunate we are to be able to see it brought together – it is the best group of Canaletto’s works in the world! Alongside his paintings of Venice are the series of 5 large-scale Roman views which Canaletto painted in 1742.  I particularly liked the smaller view of the Grand Canal (The Grand Canal looking north-west from near the Rialto) showing Smith’s palazzo with its new classical façade altered later by the artist.

Rosalba Carriera,’Winter’, c. 1726
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Add to this works by Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Francesco Zuccarelli, Rosalba Carriera, Pietro Longhi and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and one really gets an absorbing picture of life in 18th century Venice. I loved the Sebastiano Ricci of The Adoration of the Kings (1726) because of the way Christ’s arm and hand are outstretched touching one of the king’s heads in benediction.

Canaletto, The Mouth of the Grand Canal looking West towards the Carita, c.1729-30, from a set of 12 paintings of the Grand Canal.
Royal Collection Trust/(c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

This exhibition should not be missed!

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

Marco Ricci, Farinelli in walking dress, c.1729-30
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

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

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

Sublime Gardens

 

Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until11th October 2015

Marco Ricci, A View of the Cascade, Bushy Park Water Gardens, c.1715. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Marco Ricci, A View of the Cascade, Bushy Park Water Gardens, c.1715.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

This is a great exhibition which celebrates the idea of the garden through paintings, drawings, books and the decorative arts from the 16th to the early 20th century.

Mir 'Ali Sir Nava'l, Seven Couples in a Garden, c. 1510. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Mir ‘Ali Sir Nava’l, Seven Couples in a Garden, c. 1510.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

We see a Persian garden depicted in an Islamic manuscript, the gardens of Versailles and Hampton Court, Kew, Windsor and Osborne House. Works by Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, Jan Brueghel the Elder as well as late 19th and early 20th century watercolours and a Fantin-Latour painting.

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1615. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Jan Brueghel the Elder, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1615.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

There is a wonderful selection of floral decoration on Bow, Chelsea, Meissen and Sèvres porcelains, textiles, furniture, silver, fans and jewellery, including pieces commissioned by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria and of course works by Carl Fabergé.

Workshop of Carl Faberge, Bleeding Heart, c.1900. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Workshop of Carl Faberge, Bleeding Heart, c.1900.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

This engaging exhibition appeals to most tastes as it reveals the garden as a place of beauty, a place for research and science, a place to relax and enjoy and a place to wonder at the glories of nature.

Thomas Tompion, one of a pair of sundials, 17th century. Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Thomas Tompion, one of a pair of sundials, 17th century.
Royal Collection Trust / copyright Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

 

D-Day Remembered – The Queen’s Gallery

The Last of the Tide, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, 6th – 17th June 2015

Laurence ‘Laurie’ Weeden, Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment

Laurence ‘Laurie’ Weeden, Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment

Martin Yeoman,  Laurence ‘Laurie’ Weeden,  Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment  © Martin Yeoman  Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust

Martin Yeoman,
Laurence ‘Laurie’ Weeden,
Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment
© Martin Yeoman
Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust

This very special exhibition was commissioned by HRH The Prince of Wales after attending last year’s events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy. It comprises twelve portraits of D-Day veterans who are depicted wearing their medals and in some cases their regimental berets. The sitters all served in regiments with which The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall have a formal association. Each of the twelve portraits was painted by a different artist among whom were Jonathan Yeo, James Lloyd, Ishbel Myerscough and Stuart Pearson Wright.

Eileen Hogan,  Robert Antony ‘Tony’ Leake,  Corporal with the 8th Battalion The Parachute  Regiment  © Eileen Hogan  Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust

Eileen Hogan,
Robert Antony ‘Tony’ Leake,
Corporal with the 8th Battalion The Parachute
Regiment
© Eileen Hogan
Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust

Robert Antony ‘Tony’ Leake, Corporal with the 8th Battalion The Parachute  Regiment

Robert Antony ‘Tony’ Leake, Corporal with the 8th Battalion The Parachute Regiment

It is right and fitting that this exhibition should open on this anniversary of D-Day. The extraordinary men – and they truly are, as I know personally through my partner’s father who served on one of the landing craft bringing the Canadian troops to Juno Nan Beach – were part of the Allied invasion on 6th June 1944 which was the largest amphibious invasion in history and resulted in the liberation of France from the Nazi occupation.

Brian Stewart, Captain with the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish

Brian Stewart, Captain with the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish

Paul Benney,   Brian Stewart,   Captain with the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish  © Paul Benney  Photograph:  © Royal Collection Trust

Paul Benney,
Brian Stewart,
Captain with the 1st Battalion, Tyneside Scottish
© Paul Benney
Photograph: © Royal Collection Trust

Admission is free. Tickets are available from the Gallery, on the day only.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

The Queen’s Gallery – II

There is still time to see the two fascinating shows at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 22nd February 2015. Here is the second one.

 

Gold

Design for the Gold State Coach, Sir William Chambers and Giovanni Battista Cipriani, 1760 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Design for the Gold State Coach, Sir William Chambers and Giovanni Battista Cipriani, 1760
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

This is perhaps an appropriate subject for an exhibition held in a royal palace especially as gold has been regarded as a symbol of status, whether temporal or ecclesiastical, in most cultures across the millennia. You will encounter the Bronze Age Rillaton gold cup, a pre-Inca gold crown from Ecuador and a tiger’s head from the throne of the Indian ruler Tipu Sultan (1785–93) and objects associated with the coronation of British monarchs.

Rillaton gold cup, c.1700 - 1500 BC Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Rillaton gold cup, c.1700 – 1500 BC
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Gold has been used in many ways as these items from the Royal Collection confirm; gold boxes, fans, plate and ornaments, paintings, books, illuminated manuscripts, jewellery and of course the gilding of furniture and frames.

Opening shamsa (sunburst) from the Padshahnama, c.1656-7 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Opening shamsa (sunburst) from the Padshahnama, c.1656-7
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

While you may think that it would be an over-the-top exhibition it is instead a totally absorbing and elegant look at the allure this precious metal casts upon the human psyche.

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk

The Queen’s Gallery – I

There is still time to see the two fascinating shows at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London SW1, until 22nd February 2015. Here is the first one.

 

Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East

The Prince of Wales and party among ruins in Karnak, Thebes, Egypt, March 1862 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Prince of Wales and party among ruins in Karnak, Thebes, Egypt, March 1862
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

A twenty-year old Prince of Wales, who would become Edward VII, set out on a four month tour of the Middle East in 1862 and this exhibition celebrates it. What makes the tour special is that the Prince was accompanied by the photographer Francis Bedford who took the series of images seen here and which made it the first royal tour to be recorded in this manner.

Portrait of Abd al-Qadir, May 1862 Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Portrait of Abd al-Qadir, May 1862
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

As the images reveal, the Prince did not travel in pomp or splendour but rather by horse and he slept in tents. He did however meet rulers, politicians and other notable figures as he progressed through Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece.
The main reason for Bedford’s inclusion with the royal party was to record sacred and historic landscapes, which he did with great skill. These images are remarkable and give a haunting sense of place and time.

Gold brooch set with ancient Egyptian scarab dating from 700BC.  Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Gold brooch set with ancient Egyptian scarab dating from 700BC.
Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

The Prince kept a journal of his travels and this is on show as are antiquities that the Prince acquired along the way.

 

http://www.royalcollection.org.uk