This year, the Ball Supper Room has been made into an octagonal gallery for an Exhibition entitled, ‘Prince and Patron’, which has drawings, paintings, classical sculpture, curiosities, and personal memorabilia jostling for space. HRH The Prince of Wales has created this Exhibition from both the Royal Collection and his own private Collection in order to mark his 70th Birthday on 14th November. It is a very personal show, there are no labels just audio information.
Prince Charles found the inspiration for the Exhibition from the well known painting, ‘The Tribuna of the Uffizi’ ( 1772 – 1777 ) by Johan Zoffany, in which a large group of English travellers observe the wonders of the Medici Collection. All around the painting are classical sculptures and masterpieces by Holbein, Raphael, Rubens and Titian all casually displayed. ‘The Tribuna of the Uffizi’ was commissioned by Queen Charlotte in 1772. Prince Charles has surrounded the painting by Old Masters, two drawings by Holbein, Georges de La Tour’s Saint Jerome Reading a Sheet of Paper’ and Bassano’s ‘ Adoration of the Shepherds’. ( Usually in Kensington Palace).
Work by young artists associated with three Charities founded by Prince Charles are also displayed. These Charities are The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, The Royal Drawing School and Turquoise Mountain. The latter was founded by Prince Charles in 2006 and was established to revive traditional crafts and historic areas. It started in Afghanistan and is now global. In Afghanistan this Charity tracked down remaining master craftsmen and women to train a new generation of artisans. Many students of Turquoise Mountain have progressed to work in craft businesses or to undertake further study. Turquoise Mountain now performs valuable work in Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and Jordan.
Among the 100 or so exhibits is Napoleon Bonaparte’s Berber style cloak, made of wool and embroidered with silk thread. Prince Charles, seeing it as a child in Windsor Castle, was fascinated by ‘the sheer magic of the colour, the dashing pattern of the lining and the enthralling story of Napoleon himself which it conjures up’ The cloak was recovered from the Emperor’s Imperial Baggage Carriage after the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Field Marshall Prince Gebhard Von Blucher presented it to the future George IV.
Other exhibits include the triple portrait of Prince Charles which reflects the triple portrait of Charles 1 by Van Dyck, the portrait of the Queen Mother, greatly admired by Prince Charles, ebony veneer tables by Adam Weisweiler (1744), a porcelain Chinese jar and cover of Jiangxi province, an Indian tiger’s head and Franz Xaver’s ‘Linked Hands of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’ an example of ‘ love token’ painting.
Adding to the enjoyment of this eclectic Exhibition are the occasional tables laden with diverse exhibits and much personal memorabilia cherished by Prince Charles. In juxtaposition with a stunning necklace, cascading with 365 emeralds is a 19th century Maharaja’s emerald girdle. The necklace was made by Saeeda Etebari in conjunction with Pippa Small a British Jewellery designer. Saeeda is a deaf refugee from Afghanistan who studied at Turquoise Mountain. Another student of The Turquoise Mountain,Naseer Nasua, produced a geodesic dome in walnut for the Exhibition. A walnut and mother of pearl chest is displayed made by Syrian and Jordanian artists in Amman.
Adding to the enjoyment of this eclectic exhibition is a photograph of Prince Charles holding a sleeping Prince George in his arms as Prince William looks upon them…..Three Kings, rarely photographed together.
Vanessa Remingron, Senior Creator of Paintings at the Royal Collection said,
“…….It is not a standard museum display, and the works aren’t shown in isolation, they’re shown in profusion very very densely…… this is a very personal show”
This original Exhibition, which I feel Prince Charles enjoyed ‘curating’ greatly adds to the pleasure of this year’s opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.
Pre booking recommended.