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Prince & Patron marks 70th birthday

A lovely treat awaits visitors to Buckingham Palace this summer. The Prince of Wales has selected his favourite works of art from the Royal Collection and three of his charities

Old Masters hang with new pieces of art from the Prince's Charities at the Prince & Patron exhibition Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

This summer visitors to the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will see a special display of over 100 works of art personally selected by The Prince of Wales to mark his 70th birthday. The exhibition Prince & Patron presents a rich display of paintings, decorative arts, works on paper, furniture and textiles from the Royal Collection and the work of artists supported by three of The Prince's charities – The Royal Drawing School, The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts and Turquoise Mountain.

In a message recorded for visitors to Buckingham Palace, The Prince says about the charities involved: ‘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.’

The Prince's interest in art developed while growing up surrounded by the Royal Collection, one of the finest collection in the world. From the works collected by the Princes' ancestors, his selection includes 16th-century portrait drawings by Hans Holbein the Younger that belonged to Henry VIII; Georges de la Tour's painting Saint Jerome, c.1621–23, acquired by Charles II; and 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.

Indian, Tiger's Head from Tipu Sultan's throne 1785-93; gold, rock crystal, foil, enamel Royal Collection Trust (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

There are many personal pictures included throughout the exhibition too: photos of the Prince with William and newborn George and with Harry in uniform. There are also two oil sketches of The Prince and The Duchess of Cornwall by Eileen Hogan from His Royal Highness's personal collection are seen together publicly for the first time.

Carefully selected objects on a table include a photo of the Prince and Harry. Photo: (c) F. Richards

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 from The Last of the Few series are included in the display, including Stuart Pearson Wright's portrait of Flight Lieutenant WLB Walker AE, who was then the oldest surviving pilot from the battle.

The cedar wood pavilion in the centre of the exhibition filled with cushions and rugs made of Welsh wool. Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

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 communities.

My favourite piece however, which I was most surprised to find, is Napoleon's cloak. The cloak was captured with the baggage train after the Battle of Waterloo and presented to George IV as booty. It was on display at Windsor when Charles was a boy, so the Prince grew up with it and apparently it is one of his favourite pieces too.

French, Napoleon's cloak, 1797-1805; felt, silk, silver thread, braid Royal Collection Trust (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

This exhibition is different and interesting and the juxtaposition of old masters with new pieces ensures it is so. It is well worth seeing if you are in London this summer.


Prince & Patron

Buckingham Palace


Showing until: 30 September 2018

For more information CLICK HERE


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