Monday, July 23, 2018

Review: Prince & Patron Exhibition at Buckingham Palace

The Queen has departed for Scotland and Buckingham Palace has opened up its State Rooms for summer visitors to London - and I'll also be taking a break after this post...

Every summer there is also an exhibition for the visitors to the State Rooms - and this year it's called Prince & Patron.

The exhibition marks HRH Prince of Wales's 70th year and his 70th birthday later this year and his abiding interest in the arts and particularly the visual arts.
The Prince of Wales has enjoyed a life-long passion for art and, as Chairman of The Royal Collection Trust and Patron of several arts charities, has promoted the creation and understanding of art worldwide. 
The exhibition opened to the public on Saturday 21 Jul 2018 and continues until Sunday, 30 Sep 2018.

I went to see it last Friday and below are some photos of what's included and some comments about the nature of the exhibition.

Prince and Patron - the exhibition

The exhibition includes a cedar wood pavilion in the centre of Afghan design.

I'm not sure that many people realise that the Prince of Wales is the Chairman of The Royal Collection Trust and Patron of several arts charities

Prince Charles has brought together what is in my view a very personal exhibition - reflecting both his life and his interests. The exhibition contains over 100 works of art - drawings, paintings, decorative items and artifacts, selected from the Royal Collection, his own collection and created by artists supported by three of His Royal Highness's charities
  • The Royal Drawing School - founded by the Prince in 2000 as an independent educational charity raising the standard and profile of observational drawing through teaching and practice.
  • The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts - focuses on the practice and research of the traditional arts
  • Turquoise Mountain - which has trained over 5000 traditional builders and artisans in Afghanistan
‘These charities have achieved more than I could ever have hoped, often in ways that I would never have expected. I am delighted that they now have an opportunity to show their work in Buckingham Palace and together with some of my favourites from the Royal Collection.’
I think maybe the exhibition will reveal what many people may not have realised - that the Prince personally commissions a lot of artwork and artifacts by skilled craftspeople for the Royal Collection and for his own homes.

The look of the exhibition - a rather large drawing room!

As I walked round the exhibition, I kept being reminded that the walls looked a bit like the eclectic collection of items you might find in the home of a dedicated collector with a very clear view about what he likes.

It's very much NOT a normal exhibition display where items are separated and organised.

It's not unlike some of the rooms used by the family at Clarence House.
Reinforced by the usual side tables with domestic items, books, lamps and family photos

Books about gardening and the images of flowers
Paintings by Amber Khockhar
Watercolour for Picture Gallery, Buckingham Palace. HRH Prince Charles commissioned Amber to produce a design for a 40m long wool carpet which can be found at the Picture Gallery Buckingham Palace. Amber Khokhar | Royal Commission
Books by the Prince of Wales
and a photo of Harry and Meghan leaving the chapel at Windsor after their marriage

Portraits of the family 

As in all good family homes, you have pictures of your family - and this exhibition is no exception.

Below we see portraits by one of my favourite painters Eileen Hogan of  both Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, plus two portraits by Michael Noakes (1933-2018) of the Queen and the Queen Mother. Hogan is on the Academic Board of the Royal Drawing School.

Prince Charles and his wife, mother and grandmother
plus a drawing of Alexandra Park by Christopher Green
Preparatory Oil Sketches by Nicky Phipps of Prince Harry and Prince William
Triple portrait of HRH Charles, Prince of Wales by Susan Crawford
Bowl of Ferns by Lucian Freud (1967)

Hear The Prince of Wales talk about an oil painting of The Queen Mother by Michael Noakes from Royal Collection Trust on Vimeo.
An oil sketch by Michael Noakes (1933–2018) of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was produced as a study for a painting marking the Silver Wedding Anniversary of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in 1972. The Queen Mother is pictured wearing Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Brooch.


Other Portraits

There are also a number of other portraits - which I'm going to cover in a separate post when I get back from my break - about the ex-graduates of the Royal Drawing School featured in this exhibition. They include a winner of the BP Portrait Exhibition and two different winners of the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition.

Drawings and paintings by ex-students and staff of the Royal Drawing School

Plants and Gardens

Unsurprisingly I found a lot to do with plants and gardens in the exhibition - not least a copy of the Highgrove Florilegium - which was created to celebrate his 60th Birthday - and which I last saw open on an Ottoman or low table in Clarence House.

The Highgrove Florilegium

Besides the Florilegium and the Lucian Freud Ferns and the Amber Khokhar plants, there was a wonderful wall of various representations of trees

Including work by Jethro Buck

There is much much more. One of the really nice things about the exhibition is that it has a free and detailed display guide which was very informative.  The other nice thing is discovering artists you've not heard of before and artwork you've not seen before.

If you've not seen the State Rooms before , are happy to pay for a ticket and can accommodate timed admission then the exhibition is a very interesting and welcome insight into our next King.

Media coverage:

I can more or less tell who whizzed through, who studied the family photos as a priority and who actually studied the items of artwork by the titles and the content of the following

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