‘I have always been captivated by the astonishing range of fascinating things in the Royal Collection that have been collected or commissioned by my ancestors over the generations. This is what, for me, makes the Royal Collection so special, representing, as it does, the unique craftsmanship and skill of the people who made them. As a result, I have long believed that it is vital to preserve and maintain such craftmanship and this led me to set up three charities.”
– The Prince of Wales –
This summer visitors to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will see a very special display of more than 100 works of art personally selected by The Prince of Wales to mark his 70th birthday year. The exhibition, Prince & Patron, comprises paintings, decorative arts, works on paper, furniture and textiles from the Royal Collection. There will also be works on display by artists supported by three of The Prince’s charities: The Royal Drawing School, The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts, and Turquoise Mountain.
The Prince’s interest in art developed while growing up surrounded by the Royal Collection which is among the largest and most important art collections in the world. From works collected through the years by his ancestors, The Prince’s selection includes a 16th-century portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger that belonged to Henry VIII; George de la Tour’s painting Saint Jerome, (1621 -23), acquired by Charles II; a tiger’s head in gold and rock crystal (1785-93) from the throne of Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore in India, presented to William IV. Two oil sketches of The Prince and The Duchess of Cornwall by Eileen Hogan from His Royal Highness’s personal collection, which are seen together publicly for the first time. There is also a beautiful oil sketch by Michael Noakes (1933 – 2018) of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother which shows her wearing Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Brooch, and which usually hangs in Clarence House.
In 2009, Nicky Philipps was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint the first official double portrait of Prince William and Prince Harry. Two preparatory oil sketches show them wearing the regimental dress uniform of the Household Cavalry (the ‘Blues and Royals’). These oils usually hang at Highgrove, but will go on display for the first time as part of the exhibition.
Another memorable choice is Johan Joseph Zoffany’s painting The Tribuna of the Uffizi (1772-77), showing connoisseurs and Grand Tourists admiring the Grand Duke of Tuscany’s collection in the Uffizi, Florence. The artist was commissioned to paint the work by Queen Charlotte, consort of George III.
One of the most remarkable exhibits on display was chosen by The Prince for the compelling story it tells: The cloak of Napoleon Bonaparte, made of felt and embroidered in silk, was removed from the Emperor’s baggage train in the aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and presented to the future George IV by Field Marshal Blucher, who fought alongside the Duke of Wellington.
To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2010, The Prince commissioned a series of drawings of veterans by alumni and faculty members of The Royal Drawing School. Four drawings are included in the display. In June 2018, His Royal Higness visited the final degree show of The Prince’s foundation School of Traditional Arts and selected Hannah Rose Thomas’s three portraits of Yezidi women for the Prince & Patron exhibition. The paintings, in tempera with gold leaf on panel, are of women who escaped ISIS captivity.
At the centre of the Palace’s Ball Supper Room is a striking 2.3 metre high cedar wood pavilion created by classical carver Naseer Yasna (Mansouri) and the woodwork team at Turquoise Mountain. the pavilion’s intricate carvings draw on the rich heritage of Afghan design and demonstrate how the charity is reviving traditional skills in historic communicates.
Having grown up surrounded by the Royal Collection, it is no wonder that the Prince of Wales has enjoyed a lifelong passion for art, and, as Chairman of The Royal Collection Trust and Patron of several arts charities, he has tirelessly promoted the creation and understanding of art worldwide. Prince & Patron is a grand testament to this fact.
Prince & Patron is part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from 21 July – 30 September 2018. For further information, please visit: www.royalcollection.org.uk
CELLOPHANELAND* were guests of Buckingham Palace.