Follow Us on Twitter

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned - Hampton Court Palace

The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned

Exhibition preview

THE WILD, the Beautiful and the Damned, an exhibition about the story of beauty, debauchery and decadent art at the late Stuart Court, is on display at Hampton Court Palace until September 30, 2012.

Hampton Court Palace is playing host to the Court beauties, lecherous rakes and ambitious courtesans who decorated the decadent world of Charles II and his successors.

A temporary exhibition, it explores the meaning of beauty, and the stories of love, lust and power that engulfed the late Stuart court of 1660-1714.

Visitors can see portraits of Charles II’s principal mistresses, including Nell Gwyn and Barbara Villiers, brought together at the palace for the first time.

Visitors can also uncover the truth about beauty – learn how it was seen both as a sign of divine perfection and virtue as well as a tool for vice and corruption – and also discover the rewards of ‘being beautiful’, prompting the question: How far would you go to get what you wanted?

Visitors will also have the chance to meet Barbara Villiers ‘in person’ and hear about her life as a royal mistress.

The exhibition explores the story of how kings, queens and courtesans swept away the Puritanical solemnity of the mid-17th century, and attempted to rewrite the moral code of social behaviour.

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey, KT8 9AU

Hampton Court is only 35 minutes by train from London.