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The inaugural Greenwich Wintertime Festival

Event preview

THE inaugural Greenwich Wintertime Festival will launch this December, set in the stunning grounds of Sir Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece, Old Royal Naval College, and against the backdrop of the iconic Cutty Sark.

A fresh, new winter festival with a difference, Greenwich Wintertime Festival will offer a magical atmosphere, bringing together the contemporary and the traditional to create an inspiring Christmas experience every day during December.

In association with world heritage-listed Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Wintertime Festival offers an alternative winter event to the seasonal market, with its own distinctive and individual style.

A truly unique and contemporary experience which embraces the traditions of the season, the event will host a bespoke covered ice rink, high-calibre entertainment across the site, London’s finest innovative lifestyle winter market presenting an array of independent creative designers and brands, the very best of artisan festive food and drink, an art exhibition, plus an enchanting Father Christmas experience for all the family.

Greenwich Wintertime Festival aims to break new ground in the festive marketplace and will transform this popular riverside location into the ultimate Christmas destination. There will be three sessions every day, each offering a three hour experience. A Festival programme with full details will be announced in mid-September.

Ed Barnard, Finance and Commercial Director at the Old Royal Naval College commented: “We are deeply excited to have Greenwich Wintertime Festival this Christmas and it’s a welcome addition to the wonderful variety of Christmas-themed events that London has to offer. Taking place within the historic grounds of the Old Royal Naval College, it promises to bring something a little different to the festive arena and is another great reason to visit this exciting part of the capital.”

With over 1.7 million annual visits, the Old Royal Navy College is one of the most visited attractions in the UK, featuring breath-taking architecture and some of the best views in London. The addition of Greenwich Wintertime Festival to its line-up of events will provide locals, Londoners and visitors to the capital with a unique festive experience that is destined to become a permanent fixture on the Christmas calendar.

Dates: December 1 to December 31, 2017.

Tickets: From £15 for adults and £8 for children. Tickets are on general sale from August 23 2017 – on 0871 220 0260 (calls cost 13p per minute plus network extras) available 24 hours a day.

Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, London, SE10 9NN

Virtual pilgrimage: reimagining India’s Great Shrine of Amaravati - British Museum

Exhibition preview

AS PART of the British Museum’s South Asia season, the Asahi Shimbun Display Virtual pilgrimage: reimagining India’s Great Shrine of Amaravati (in Room 3 from August 10 to October 8, 2017) focuses on a double-sided relief from the Great Shrine of Amaravati in south-east India.

Founded around 200 BC, the Shrine was one of the earliest, largest and most important Buddhist monuments in the world.

Located near the ancient city of Dharanikota in the present-day state of Andhra Pradesh, the site flourished for over a thousand years – the city had important trade links throughout South and Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and the Mediterranean world.

One side of the relief reveals what the Shrine, now an archaeological site, may have looked like. It shows the dome covered in Buddhist symbols and stories, while the Buddha himself stands in bodily form at the gateway, flanked by devotees. On the other side the Buddha is evoked as an empty throne, a Bodhi tree and a pair of footprints, perhaps suggesting his liberation from the earthly realm and the confines of the human body.

The Shrine’s domed structure, or stupa, contained a relic – perhaps of an important spiritual teacher, or of the Buddha himself, who died sometime between 490 and 400 BC. Pilgrims from many walks of life funded its construction and adornment over hundreds of years. The identities of these donors are revealed through Prakrit inscriptions written in Brahmi, one of India’s oldest scripts, carved onto individual sculptures.

They include a female disciple who donated the relief on display, a 1st-century BC perfumer called Hamgha who donated a pillar, a 1st-century AD Buddhist monk called Budhi who donated a ‘lion-seat’ (probably a support for a lion statue) with his sister Budha (a nun), and a 2nd-century AD woman called Kumala who donated an elaborately carved railing pillar.

In the display, these four individuals will be dramatically brought to life by actors and projected onto the gallery walls. Using new mobile technology, visitors will have the opportunity to use their smartphones to interact with these characters and explore the Shrine in more detail.

This creative approach to storytelling will highlight the importance of ancient inscriptions, which are crucial for understanding the historical and social significance of sites such as the Great Shrine. ‘Opening up’ the gallery walls will allow us to playfully experiment with its otherwise protected and untouched surfaces. By reimagining the donors that made the Amaravati site possible, this display will explore the power of patronage in ancient India.

The Great Shrine was gradually abandoned during the 14th century, and by the late 18th century materials from the shrine were being recycled for new buildings and temples. In the 19th century a series of archaeological campaigns recovered the surviving sculptures. Today, the pieces are shared across a number of museum collections in India and around the world.

The British Museum houses more than 120 sculptures from Amaravati, forming the single most important group of Indian sculptures outside the subcontinent. Many will be on permanent display when the Sir Joseph Hotung Gallery of China and South Asia and the Asahi Shimbun Gallery of Amaravati sculptures reopen in November 2017.

You can explore the object in 3D by visiting

A number of events accompany the display.

Image: One of two sides of a relief from the Great Shrine of Amaravati, evoking the Buddha’s presence symbolically as an empty throne, a Bodhi tree and a pair of footprints. Andhra Pradesh, India, c.50 BC. © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Admission: Free.

Opening times: Saturday – Thursday, 10am – 5.30pm; Friday, 10am – 8.30pm.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Also at the British Museum: The BP exhibition Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia (September 14, 2017 to January 14, 2018).

Styled by Design, fine art textiles from Henry Moore, Vivienne Westwood and more at Gallery 8

Exhibition preview

STYLED by Design, a new exhibition of framed 20th Century textiles, will reveal a varied collection of rare and limited edition printed textiles imagined by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, William Scott, Alexander Calder, Pablo Picasso, John Piper, Zandra Rhodes and many more in London this October.

Presented by Gray M.C.A at Mayfair’s Gallery 8 from October 3 to October 7, 2017, this historically significant exhibition will celebrate the revolutionary relationship between the Modern artists and textile manufacturers of the 20th Century post-war period and will additionally feature a number of designers and textile artists working in the same tradition today.

Diverse fabrics such as silk, rayon, woven wool and cotton provided a new medium for Modern artists, allowing them to experiment with producing vivid textures and colours that brought both new life and a new audience to their work.

In Styled by Design, visitors will be able to compare Barbara Hepworth and Ben Nicholson’s 1940s silkscreen designs for Ascher Ltd, which hold the same subtle delicate beauty as any watercolour, with Alan Reynolds and William Scott’s bold 1950s and 60s jacquard woven cotton designs for Edinburgh Weavers that carry all the intensity of rich oil paintings.

These dynamic textiles were only ever produced in short runs or limited editions and are much sought after by collectors.

From the mid-20th Century onwards, these eminent artists worked with influential textile manufacturers to produce exclusive and limited edition textiles with the aim of bringing Contemporary art into the home as never before. Ascher Ltd and Edinburgh Weavers developed these artistic partnerships to bring their businesses in a new dynamic direction.

Textile powerhouses such as Arthur Sanderson and David Whitehead swiftly followed and captured the public and media’s attention in an innovative, multi-disciplinary fashion, leaving a legacy that holds significance to the fine art and textile industries to this day.

Ashley Gray of Gray M.C.A and curator of Styled by Design said:

“As prices for Modern British Art spiral ever higher, collectors, curators and lovers of Modern Art have woken up to the rarity, beauty and historical importance of the textile work of the modern masters. These rare and powerful works underline the innovative genius of both the artists and the textile producers of the post-war era. Textile departments of leading art schools are increasingly echoing the creative vision pioneered by the modern masters of textile design. Styled by Design celebrates both the modern and the new; when it comes to artist textiles, what is modern has never been more contemporary.”

Prices range from £500 to £15,000 for a framed limited edition textile.

Styled by Design will also feature an original print on art paper of Zandra Rhodes’s historic 1970s Ayers Rock Print alongside the original textile from the private collection of Dame Zandra Rhodes.

Image: Patrick Heron, Tate Gallery 1979, Silk Scarf Square, 87 × 87 cm.

Opening Times: Daily from 10am to 6.30pm.

Gray M.C.A at Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BN

Ian Rayer-Smith at D Contemporary Art Gallery, Mayfair

Work by Ian Rayer-Smith

Exhibition preview

A SOLO exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Ian Rayer-Smith will be on display at D Contemporary Gallery, Mayfair, from August 31 to September 9, 2017.

Manchester-based abstract artist Ian Rayer-Smith is the winner of this year’s “It’s Art Call” Prize, organised by D Contemporary in collaboration with The Cult House.

Strongly influenced by the work of the abstract expressionists and the romantic light of the old masters, Ian Rayer-Smith’s large oil and acrylic paintings effortlessly fuse abstraction, the figurative and the surreal.

D Contemporary Art Gallery, 23 Grafton Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 4EY

Exhibitions at Rich Mix

Exhibition preview

RICH MIX has three exhibitions lined up for the coming weeks:

Takeover: The By Artist Gallery – Friday, July 21 to Wednesday, August 30, 2017. Free

An informal art space set up by artist Ellis Lewis-Dragstra, for creative people from different backgrounds and a range of experiences to get together to share ideas and artworks.

Joe McAlister presents A.M.I. (Another Memory Interrupted) – Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2, 2017. Free.

A.M.I creates a personal experience for each user, analysing your relationships online, opening them up for critique and self-reflection.

Jordan Wu presents Negative Space – Friday, September 1 and Saturday, September 2, 2017. Free.

Negative Space is a virtual reality piece that uses physical presence to affect virtual spaces.

For more information, call 020 7613 7498 or visit

Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA

Proud Galleries acquire a new collection by acclaimed photographer Norman Seeff

Mick Jagger 1972 © Norman Seeff

Proud Galleries are delighted to announce a new collection by the acclaimed photographer Norman Seeff.

Over his career Seeff has photographed a wealth of creative thinkers, artists, musicians, scientists, directors, Nobel Prize winners and actors including the likes of Blondie, Keith Richards and Steve Jobs.

Seeff was born in South Africa in 1939 and trained in emergency medicine before moving to the US to embark on a career in photography 30 years later.

Whilst living in New York, Seeff’s photographs were discovered by the former Vice President of Creative Services at Columbia Records, Bob Cato, who went on to introduce him to personalities such as Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Gaining popularity, Seeff opened his own studio in Sunset Boulevard and began conducting photography sessions which soon became legendary for drawing crowds of up to 200 people.

At 78, Seeff continues to work on dynamic photographic and film shoots in LA.

Image: Mick Jagger, Saluting, 1972 © Norman Seeff. Print type: Signed Archival Pigment Print. Limited Edition: 50. Print Size: 36 × 52”. £13800 ex VAT.

Alasdair Gray at Coningsby Gallery

Exhibition preview

THIS SUMMER, the Coningsby Gallery is hosting an exhibition of works from Alasdair Gray’s personal collection of his own paintings, drawings and prints. The show will run for three weeks, from July 27 to August 12, 2017.

Glasgow-based Gray is well known as the author of more than 50 book titles, including the cult classic novel Lanark (1981), described in the Guardian as a ‘landmark of 20th century fiction’; and Poor Things, winner of the Whitbread Novel Award in 1992 and the Guardian Fiction Prize for the same year.

As an artist, Gray has been described as ‘Glasgow’s Piranesi’, and as the ‘20th century’s William Blake’. Examples of his work are held by various public collections, including the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Arts Council of England collection, the Kelvingrove Gallery, and others.

Gray, now 82 years old, was seriously injured in a fall in 2015. Now greatly recovered, he is back at work, publishing new prints, designing murals, and preparing text and illustrations for his new translation of Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

Andrew Coningsby, managing director of the gallery, said: ‘We are thrilled to be hosting this particular exhibition. Alasdair Gray is already an iconic figure, who will only become more so over time. This will be a great opportunity for London curators, collectors and art dealers to become more familiar with his art.’

Image: Alasdair Gray’s ceiling mural in the Oran Mor, Glasgow: the ‘Sistine Chapel ceiling for the 21st Century’. Photo by Mark Wild Photography.

Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 4RJ8

Dalí/Duchamp - Royal Academy of Arts

DALI/DUCHAMP, on display at the Royal Academy of Arts from October 7, 2017 to January 3, 2018, is the first exhibition to present the art of two of the twentieth century’s most famous artists in exclusive dialogue.

Marcel Duchamp (1887–1968) and Salvador Dalí (1904–1989) are usually seen as opposites in almost every respect, yet they shared attitudes to art and life that are manifested in their respective oeuvres on many levels.

Taking their friendship as its starting point, the exhibition will demonstrate the aesthetic, philosophical and personal links between them. Over 80 paintings, sculptures, ‘readymades’, photographs, drawings, films and archival material will bring to life the myriad of connections between the works of these two very different creative and intelligent minds.

Dalí/Duchamp will be located in Galleries 1, 2 and the Weston Rooms in Burlington House and will include loans from public institutions and private collections across Europe and the US.

Duchamp and Dalí met in the early 1930s through mutual contacts in the Surrealist group. Their friendship was consolidated in 1933 when Duchamp made his first visit to the fishing village of Cadaqués, just a short walk from Dalí’s home in Portlligat. From the late 1950s Duchamp rented a house there each summer, and the two artists remained close until Duchamp’s death in 1968.

At first glance, they seem like opposites, Dalí was the self-professed genius and notorious Surrealist showman whereas Duchamp was a quieter character. Despite their differences, they recognised each other as a fellow traveller, both profoundly committed to individual freedom.

They shared a number of core artistic interests such as optics and language, they were pioneers in the use of found objects and admired and publically supported one another’s work. Fundamentally, the two men were united by a shared humour and scepticism which led them to challenge conventional views of art and life.

Dalí/Duchamp will be organised in three main thematic sections focusing on specific points of contact between the artists and capturing the energy and spirit of their friendship and artistic exchange.

Identities will explore Duchamp and Dalí as personalities and artistic identities. While Duchamp was 17 years Dalí’s senior, as young artists both followed similar trajectories, initially experimenting with the artistic movements of their day: Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and Futurism.

Although it was as a painter that Duchamp came to public attention, he was to categorically reject the medium, making his last oil painting on canvas in 1918. This section will show the diversity of the canvases painted by both artists, and reveal photographs that examine a conscious play with their public personae and a shared desire to question the role of the artist.

Highlights of this section will include Duchamp’s The King and Queen Surrounded by Swift Nudes, 1912 (Philadelphia Museum of Art) one of his many works that draws upon the iconography of chess, and Dalí’s The First Days of Spring, 1929 (The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida).

The Body and the Object will bring together works by both artists that focus on the theme of eroticism, treated in both figurative and abstracted paintings, drawings and sculptures. Many of these works explore the terrain between art and life activated by each artist’s use of found objects.

This is particularly evident in Duchamp’s ‘readymades’ which, in this context, take on bodily connotations including Bicycle Wheel, 1913/1964 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa) and the iconic Fountain, 1917/1964 (National Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rome) as well as Dalí’s Lobster Telephone, 1938 (West Dean College, West Sussex).

The final section, Experimenting with Reality will show how Dalí and Duchamp responded to new ideas about time and space, energy, matter and gravity, quantum theory and atomic physics. Duchamp’s dislike of the purely ‘retinal’ in painting was paradoxically paired with his interest in optical effects, which equally captivated Dalí. Both artists made works that explore a shared fascination with perspective and illusion.

Highlights of this section will include Dalí’s major work Christ of Saint John of the Cross, c. 1951 (Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow) and Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach, 1938 (Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut) as well as Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), 1915 (reconstruction by Richard Hamilton 1965-6/1985, Tate, London).

The exhibition is curated by independent art historian Professor Dawn Ades CBE, Dr William Jeffett, Chief Curator, Exhibitions at The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida and Sarah Lea, Curator, Royal Academy of Arts.

Dalí/Duchamp has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, and The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, Florida, in collaboration with the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation and the Association Marcel Duchamp.

Dalí/Duchamp will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book by the co-curators Dawn Ades and William Jeffett, with contributions by Ed Ruscha, Cécile Debray, Gavin Parkinson, Pilar Parcerisas, Michael R. Taylor, Montse Aguer Teixidor and Carme Ruiz González.

Image: Marcel Duchamp, Bicycle Wheel, 1913, 6th version 1964. Bicycle fork with wheel mounted on painted wooden stool, 126 × 64 × 31.5 cm. Photo © Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada/© Succession Marcel Duchamp/ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017.

Tickets: £16.50 full price (£15 without Gift Aid donation); concessions available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free. Tickets are available daily at the RA or online at Groups of 10+ are asked to book in advance. Telephone 020 7300 8027 or email

Times: 10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm). Late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

Tel: 020 7300 8090


Also at the Royal Academy of Arts: Charles I: King and Collector (January 27 to April 15, 2018).

Basquiat: Boom for Real - Barbican Art Gallery

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entitled Basquiat: Boom for Real will be on display in the Barbican Art Gallery from September 21, 2017 to January 28, 2018.

Basquiat: Boom for Real is the first large-scale exhibition in the UK of the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960­-1988). One of the most significant painters of the 20th century, Basquiat came of age in the late 1970s in the post-punk underground art scene in downtown New York. By 1982, he had gained international recognition and was the youngest ever artist to participate in Documenta 7 in Kassel.

His vibrant, raw imagery, abounding with fragments of bold capitalised text, offers insights into both his encyclopaedic interests and his experience as a young black artist with no formal training. Since his tragic death in 1988, Basquiat has had remarkably little exposure in the UK; not a single work of his is held in a public collection.

Drawing from international museums and private collections, Basquiat: Boom for Real brings together an outstanding selection of more than 100 works, many never seen before in the UK.

More than any other exhibition to date, Basquiat: Boom for Real focuses on the artist’s relationship to music, writing, performance, film and television, placing him within the wider cultural context of the time. Paintings, drawings, notebooks and objects are presented alongside rare film, photography, music and archival material, capturing the range and dynamism of Basquiat’s practice over the years.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said: “We are truly thrilled to be staging the first show on Basquiat in the UK in over 20 years. The creative brilliance and emotive power of Basquiat continues to have a huge impact and influence. This is a rare opportunity for visitors to see a body of some of his most famous and also little known works in one place, and to see those works in the context of the New York scene of the 1980s.”

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s sisters, Lisane and Jeanine Basquiat said: “We are delighted to be working with the Barbican on this important exhibition, which is so long overdue.”

Basquiat first came to the media’s attention in 1978, when he teamed up with his classmate Al Diaz to graffiti enigmatic statements across the city under the collective pseudonym SAMO© (a contraction of ‘same old, same old shit’). Soon he was making drawings in his own blood, collaging baseball cards and postcards and painting on clothing, architectural fragments and improvised canvases.

He starred in the film New York Beat with Blondie’s Debbie Harry (written by Glenn O’Brien and produced by Maripol), appeared in nine episodes of O’Brien’s cult cable-television show TV Party, and performed in his experimental band Gray.

He collaborated with other artists, most famously with Andy Warhol, created murals and installations for notorious New York nightclubs including the Mudd Club, Area and Palladium, and in 1983 produced ‘Beat Bop’, a classic hip hop record with K-Rob and Rammellzee.

Highlights of the Barbican’s exhibition include a partial reconstruction of Basquiat’s first body of exhibited work, made for Diego Cortez’s watershed group show New York/New Wave at P.S.1 in February 1981. Fifteen works are brought together for the first time in over 35 years, allowing visitors to understand how Basquiat so quickly won the admiration of fellow artists and critics.

The exhibition continues with an exploration of his energetic, often collaborative work as the prodigy of the downtown scene; from the birth of SAMO© to his relationship with Warhol. In the downstairs spaces, new scholarship sheds light on some of his most acclaimed paintings and drawings. A famously self-taught artist, Basquiat sampled from an extraordinary breadth of source material – from anatomical drawings to bebop jazz to silent film – but many of these reference points have remained relatively opaque until now.

With the support of the Basquiat family, the curators have conducted extensive new research, which will allow these important works to be understood as never before.

Basquiat: Boom for Real is co-curated by Dr Dieter Buchhart and Eleanor Nairne, Curator, Barbican Art Gallery, and organised in collaboration with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated book published by Prestel and designed by A Practice for Everyday Life. Introductory essays are by the exhibition curators Dieter Buchhart and Eleanor Nairne alongside new thematic texts by poet and cultural critic Christian Campbell on SAMO©; curator and writer Carlo McCormick on the 1981 exhibition New York/New Wave; the late writer Glenn O’Brien on the downtown New York scene; academic Jordana Moore Saggese on Basquiat’s relationship to film and television; and music scholar Francesco Martinelli on King Zulu (1986) and Basquiat’s obsession with jazz.

The publication also features rare photography, previously unpublished archival material and a new chronology. Price: £39.99.

Tickets: Standard: £16; Concessions (OAP and unemployed): £12; Students/14-17: £10; Young Barbican (14 -25s): £5 (no booking fee); Art Fund Members: £12; Membership Plus: Unlimited free entry + guest; Membership: Unlimited free entry. Under 14s Free. Advance booking is essential.

Times: Sunday to Wednesday, 10am – 6pm; Thursday to Saturday, 10am – 10pm (last entry 9.30pm); Bank Holiday Mondays: 12noon – 6pm; Bank Holiday Fridays: 12noon – 10pm. The exhibition is closed on December 24, 25 and 26, 2017. The exhibition will also close at 6pm on Thursday, October 5 for a private event.

Also at the Barbican Art Gallery: the first ever performance exhibition of the New York-based choreographer and dancer Trajal Harrell.

Barbican Art Gallery, London

Tel: Tel: 0845 120 7550


Charles I: King and Collector - Royal Academy of Arts

Exhibition preview

FROM January 27 to April 15, 2018, the Royal Academy of Arts, in partnership with Royal Collection Trust, will present Charles I: King and Collector, a landmark exhibition that will reunite one of the most extraordinary and influential art collections ever assembled.

During his reign, Charles I (1600-1649) acquired and commissioned exceptional masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century, including works by Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein, Titian and Mantegna, amongst others.

Charles I was executed in 1649 and just months later the collection was offered for sale and dispersed across Europe. Although many works were retrieved by Charles II during the Restoration, others now form the core of collections such as the Musée du Louvre and the Museo Nacional del Prado.

Charles I: King and Collector will reunite around 150 of the most important works for the first time since the seventeenth century, providing an unprecedented opportunity to experience the collection that changed the appreciation of art in England.

In 1623, two years prior to his ascension to the throne, Prince Charles visited Madrid. The Habsburg collection made a lasting impression on the future king and he returned to England with a number of works, including paintings by Titian and Veronese.

Intent on creating his own collection, he acquired the esteemed Gonzaga collection, which had been accumulated by the Dukes of Mantua. He also commissioned important artists, most notably Anthony van Dyck, who was appointed ‘principalle Paynter in Ordenarie to their Majesties’ in 1632.

In collaboration and competition with other collectors close to the Stuart court, namely Thomas Howard (1586-1646), Earl of Arundel, and George Villiers (1592-1628), Duke of Buckingham, Charles I amassed a collection unrivalled in the history of English taste.

By 1649, the collection of Charles I comprised around 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures. An inventory compiled by Abraham van der Doort (c.1580-1640), first Surveyor of The King’s Pictures, recorded the contents of the collection, providing a detailed account of the artistic tastes and high level of connoisseurship within the king’s circle.

Charles I: King and Collector will include over 90 works generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection. Major lenders will also include The National Gallery, London, the Musée du Louvre, Paris, the Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, as well as numerous other public and private collections.

Anthony van Dyck’s monumental portraits of the king and his family will form the core of the exhibition: his first major commission upon his arrival in England, Charles I and Henrietta Maria with Prince Charles and Princess Mary (‘The Greate Peece’), 1632 (The Royal Collection), and his two magnificent equestrian portraits, Charles I on Horseback with M. de St. Antoine, 1633 (The Royal Collection), and Charles I on Horseback, 1637-38 (The National Gallery, London).

They will be shown together with Van Dyck’s most celebrated and moving portrait of the king, Charles I (‘Le Roi à la chasse’), c.1635 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which will return to England for the first time since the seventeenth century.

Charles I commissioned some of the most important artists of his day, and the exhibition will include Peter Paul Rubens’s Minerva Protects Pax from Mars (‘Peace and War’), 1629-30 (The National Gallery, London) and his Landscape with Saint George and the Dragon, 1630-5 (The Royal Collection) as well as Van Dyck’s spectacular Cupid and Psyche, 1639-40 (The Royal Collection). Particular attention will be given to the patronage of Queen Henrietta Maria, including works by Orazio Gentileschi and Guido Reni.

In addition, the exhibition will present the most important Renaissance paintings from the collection, including Andrea Mantegna’s monumental series, The Triumph of Caesar, c.1484-92 (The Royal Collection), which will command a dedicated gallery within the exhibition, as well as Titian’s Supper at Emmaus, c.1530 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), and Charles V with a Dog, 1533 (Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid).

Other Renaissance artists represented are Correggio, Agnolo Bronzino, Jacopo Bassano, Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese as well as Albrecht Dürer, Jan Gossaert, Hans Holbein the Younger and Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

Further highlights will be the celebrated Mortlake tapestries of Raphael’s Acts of the Apostles, c.1631-40 (Mobilier National, Paris), arguably the most spectacular set of tapestries ever produced in England, as well as the precious works formerly kept in the Cabinet at Whitehall Palace, including paintings, statuettes, miniatures and drawings.

Christopher Le Brun, President, Royal Academy of Arts, said: “Charles I is one of history’s greatest collectors, the Royal Collection is one of the world’s greatest collections and the Royal Academy’s galleries are amongst the finest in the world. With such a combination this exhibition provides the perfect launch for our 250th anniversary celebrations in 2018.”

Charles I: King and Collector is organised by the Royal Academy of Arts in partnership with Royal Collection Trust. The exhibition is curated by Per Rumberg, Curator, Royal Academy of Arts, and Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures.

Charles I: King and Collector will be accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue edited by Per Rumberg and Desmond Shawe-Taylor. Further authors include David Ekserdjian, Barbara Furlotti, Erin Griffey, Gregory Martin, Guido Rebecchini, Vanessa Remington, Karen Serres, Lucy Whitaker and Jeremy Wood.

Tickets: £20 full price (£18 without Gift Aid donation); concessions available; children under 16 and Friends of the RA go free. Tickets are available daily at the RA or online at Group bookings: Groups of 10+ are asked to book in advance. Telephone 020 7300 8027 or email

Times: 10am – 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm); Late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm).

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

Tel: 020 7300 8090