Royal Collection

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The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family and one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, spread among some thirteen Royal residences and former residences across the UK. It is the property of the monarch as sovereign, but held in trust for her successors and the nation.[1][2]

It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as historical photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, books, and other works of art. It is physically dispersed between a number of locations; some, like Hampton Court Palace, are open to the public and not lived in by the Royal Family, whilst others, like Windsor Castle, are both residences and open to the public. Some are in residences, like Sandringham which are not open to the public. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London exists to show displays and exhibitions from the collection for several months at a time. There is also a Queen's Gallery next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

History[edit]

Rubens: Pythagoras advocating vegetarianism, c. 1618–30

Few items survive from before King Henry VIII. The most important additions to the collection were made by Charles I, a passionate collector of Italian paintings, and a major patron of Van Dyck and other artists. His collection was sold after his execution in 1649, but large numbers of works were recovered for the collection after the Restoration of 1660, when the Dutch Republic also presented Charles II with the Dutch Gift, and Charles later bought many paintings and other works. George III with the assistance of Frederick Augusta Barnard, added very large numbers, especially of prints and drawings, and Queen Victoria and her husband Albert were keen collectors of contemporary and old master paintings. Many works have been given from the collection to museums, especially by George III and Victoria and Albert. In particular most of the then royal library was given by George III to the British Museum, now the British Library, where many books are still catalogued as "Royal". The core of this collection was the purchase by James I of the related collections of Humphrey Llwyd, Lord Lumley, and the Earl of Arundel.[3]

Throughout the reign of Elizabeth II (1952–present), there have been significant additions to the collection through judicious purchases, bequests and through gifts from nation states and other official bodies.[4] The Commonwealth is strongly represented in this manner: an example is the set of seventy five contemporary Canadian watercolours that entered the Royal Collection between 1985 and 2001, a gift from the CSPWC/SPCA.

Collection[edit]

Paintings, prints and drawings[edit]

The collection's holdings of Western fine art are amongst the largest, and most important assemblages in existence, with works of the highest quality, and in many cases artists whose works can not be fully understood without a study of the holdings contained within the Royal Collection. Numbering over 7,000 works, spread across the Royal Residences, the collection is also arguably amongst the world's oldest in terms of provenance. The collection does not claim to provide a comprehensive, chronological survey of Western fine art but has been shaped by the individual tastes of monarchical rulers and their families over the last 400 years.

Leonardo da Vinci - The Babe in the Womb, 1511
Michelangelo - The Resurrection, 1532)
Raphael - The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, c. 1515
Titian - Portrait of Jacopo Sannazaro (1514–18)
Cranach, Lucas (the Elder) - Apollo and Diana, c. 1526
Holbein, Hans (the Younger) - Portrait of Sir Thomas Guildford, 1527
Frans Hals - Portrait of a Man, 1630
Rembrandt - Agatha Bas, c. 1641
Lorrain, Claude - Coast Scene with the Rape of Europa, 1667
Canaletto - Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day, 1732

Anglo-American

Dutch school (200+ works)[5]

English school

Flemish school

French school

German school

Italian school

Galleries[edit]

Paintings[edit]

Anglo-American
Dutch paintings
English paintings
Flemish paintings
French paintings
German paintings
Italian paintings

French furniture[edit]

Numbering over 300 items, the Royal Collection holds one of the greatest, and most important collections of French furniture ever assembled. The collection is noted for its encyclopedic range as well as counting most of the greatest cabinet-makers of the ancien regime.

Joseph Baumhauer - 1 item;

  • Bas d'armoire, c. 1765-1770;

Pierre-Antoine Bellangé - 13 items;

  • Deux paire de Pedestals, inset with porcelain plaques, c. 1820
  • Paire de pier table, c. 1823-4 (The Blue Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Paire de petit pier table, c. 1823-4 (The Blue Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Side-table, c. 1820
  • Paire de secretaire, c. 1827-8
  • Paire de cabinets, (see pietra dura section), c. 1820

André-Charles Boulle - 13 items;

  • Armoire, c. 1700 (The Grand Corridor, Windsor Castle)
  • Armoire, c. 1700 (The Grand Corridor, Windsor Castle)
  • Cabinet (en première-partie), c. 1700 (The Grand Corridor, Windsor Castle)
  • Cabinet (en contre-partie), c. 1700 (The Grand Corridor, Windsor Castle)
  • Cabinet, (without stand, similar to ones in the State Hermitage Museum and the collections of the Duke of Buccleuch)
  • Paire de bas d'armoire, (The Grand Corridor, Windsor Castle)
  • Writing table, possibly delivered to Louis, the Grand Dauphin (1661-1711), c. 1680
  • Paire de torchère, c. 1700
  • Bureau Plat, c. 1710 (The Rubens Room, Windsor Castle)
  • Petit gaines, attributed to., early 18th century

Martin Carlin - 2 items;

  • Cabinet (commode à vantaux), (see pietra dura section), c. 1778
  • Cabinet, mounted with Sèvres plaques, c. 1783

Jacob-Desmalter & Cie - 1 item;

  • Bureau à cylindre, c. 1825

Jacob Frères - 1 item;

  • Writing-table, c. 1805

Gérard-Jean Galle - 1 item;

  • Candelabra x2, early 19th century

Pierre Garnier - 2 items;

  • Paire de cabinets, c. 1770

Georges Jacob - 30 items;

  • Petit sofa, c. 1790
  • Tête-à-tête, c. 1790
  • Fauteuil, c. 1790
  • Lit à la Polonaise, c. 1790
  • Small armchairs and settees, suite of 20, c. 1786
  • Armchairs x4, c. 1786

Gilles Joubert - 2 items;

  • Pair of Pedestals, delivered for the bedroom of Louis XV at Versailles, c. 1762

Pierre Langlois - 5 items;

  • Commode, c. 1765
  • Deux paire de commode, c. 1763

Étienne Levasseur - 7 items;

  • Side-table, attributed to., c. 1770
  • Deux paire de gaines, attributed to., c. 1770
  • Deux secretaire, adapted from an Andre-Charles Boulle table en bureau, c. 1770

Martin-Eloy Lignereux - 2 items;

  • Paire de cabinets, (see pietra dura section), c. 1803

Bernard Molitor - 3 items;

  • Commode, c. 1780
  • Paire de secretaires, c. 1815

Bernard II van Risamburgh - 2 items;

  • Centre-table, c. 1775
  • Commode, c. 1745

Jean Henri Riesener - 6 items;

  • Commode, delivered to Louis XVI's "Chambre du Roi" at Versailles, c. 1774;
  • Paire de encoignure, delivered to Louis XVI's "Chambre du Roi" at Versailles, c. 1774;
  • Jewel-cabinet, delivered to the Comtesse de Provence, c. 1787
  • Writing-table, c. 1785
  • Bureau à cylindre, c. 1775

Sevres - 1 item;

  • Centre-table, 'The Table of the Grand Commanders', c. 1806-12 (The Blue Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)

Pierre-Philippe Thomire - 15 items;

  • Pedestal, c. 1813
  • Pedestal for the equestrian statue of Louis XIV, c. 1826
  • Paire de candelabra, 8 light, c. 1828
  • Torchères x11, c. 1814
  • Clock, mounts attributed to., 1803
  • Candelabra x2, early 19th century

Benjamin Vulliamy & Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy - 4 items;

  • Torchere x4, 1814

Benjamin Vulliamy - 3 items;

  • Candelabra x2, 1811
  • Mantel clock, c. 1780

Adam Weisweiler - 13 items;

  • Cabinet, inset with a Sevres plaque, late 18th century
  • Cabinet, (see pietra dura section), 1780
  • Side Table, (see pietra dura section), c. 1780
  • Side Table, (see pietra dura section), c. 1785 (The Green Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Paire de pier-table, in chinoiserie style, c. 1787-90
  • Commode, c. 1785
  • Console-table x4, c.1785
  • Paire de petit bas d'armoire, manner of. boulle, late 18th century

European furniture[edit]

English[edit]

Robert Hume - 1 item;

  • Pair of cabinets, (see pietra dura section), c. 1820

Flemish[edit]

Unknown - 2 items;

  • Cabinet-on-stand, c. 1660
  • Cabinet-on-stand, 17th century

German[edit]

Johann Daniel Sommer - 2 items;

  • Pair of cabinets-on-stand, attributed to. (stands English), late 17th century

Melchior Baumgartner - 2 items;

  • Organ Clock, 1664
  • Cabinet, (see Pietra Dura section), c. 1660

Netherlands[edit]

Unknown - 1 items;

  • Secretaire-cabinet, in boulle marquetry, c. 1700

Clocks[edit]

André-Charles Boulle - 4 items;

  • Mantle clock, c. 1710 (The Green Drawing Room, Windsor Castle)
  • Pedestal clock, (Similar to ones in Blenheim Palace, Chateau de Versailles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection and the Cleveland Museum of Art)
  • Pedestal clock, late 17th century;
  • Pedestal clock, c. 1720

Abraham-Louis Breguet - 1 item;

  • Empire regulator clock, 1825

De La Croix - 1 item;

  • Large clock, raised on a bronze plaque plinth, c. 1775 (The East Gallery, Buckingham Palace)

Gérard-Jean Galle - 1 item;

  • Clock, figures and frieze representing the Oath of the Horaatii, early 19th century

Jean-Pierre Latz - 2 items;

  • Pedestal Clock, (reputed from the Chateau de Versailles), c. 1735-40
  • Barometer and Pedestal, c. 1735

Jean Antoine Lépine - 1 item;

  • Clock, in the form of an African Diana, the goddess of the Hunt, 1790 (The Blue Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Astronomical Clock, c. 1790 (The Blue Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)

Martin-Eloy Lignereux - 1 item;

  • Clock, 1803

Pierre-Philippe Thomire - 1 item;

  • Clock, in the form of Apollo's chariot, c. 1805 (The State Dining Room, Buckingham Palace)

Benjamin Vulliamy - 1 item;

  • Clock, in the form of a bull, c. 1755-60

Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy - 1 item;

  • Clock, fitted with three porcelain figures, c. 1788 (The State Dining Room, Buckingham Palace)

Decorative arts[edit]

Matthew Boulton - 4 items;

  • Two pairs of vases, c. late 18th century (The Marble Hall, Buckingham Palace)

Fabergé - Contains 3 Imperial Eggs, and 1 Easter Egg

Gérard-Jean Galle - 2 items;

  • Candelabra x2, in the form of cornucopias, c. early 19th century

François Rémond - 12 items;

  • Candelabra x8, 4 pairs, c. 1787 (The Blue Drawing Room & The Music Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Candelabra x4, delivered to the comte d'Artois for the cabinet turc at Versailles, 1783 (The State Dining Room, Buckingham Palace)

Pierre-Philippe Thomire - 3 items;

  • Vase, c. early 19th century (The Music Room, Windsor Castle)
  • Candelabra x2, malachite and bronze, early 19th century (The White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Candelabra x2, malachite and bronze, c. 1828 (The State Dining Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Candelabra x4, figures of patinated bronze, c. 1810 (The East Gallery, Buckingham Palace)

Porcelain[edit]

Sculpture[edit]

Antonio Canova - 3 items;

  • Mars and Venus, c. 1815-17 (The Ministers' Staircase, Buckingham Palace)
  • Fountain nymph, 1819 (The Marble Hall, Buckingham Palace)
  • Dirce, 1824 (The Marble Hall, Buckingham Palace)

François Girardon - 1 item;

  • Bronze equestrian statue of Louis XIV, after Girardon, c. 1700

Louis-Claude Vassé - 1 item;

  • Equestrian statue of Louis XV, a small reduction copy after the original by Edmé Bouchardon, c. 1764

Ancient World - i item;

Tapestries / Carpets[edit]

Gobelins - 36 items;

  • Tapestry, four (from a series of twenty-eight designs) from the 'History of Don Quixote' given by Louis XVI to Richard Cosway, by whom presented to George IV, c. 1788
  • Tapestry, eight from the series 'Les Portières des Dieux', c. 18th century
  • Tapestry, four from the series 'Les Amours des Dieux', c. late 18th century
  • Tapestry, eight from the series 'Jason and the Golden Fleece', 1776-9
  • Tapestry, seven from the series 'History of Esther', 1783
  • Tapestry, three from the series 'Story of Daphnis and Chloë', 1754
  • Tapestry, two from the series 'Story of Meleager and Atalanta', 1844

Other Furniture[edit]

Pietra Dura - 11 items;

  • Cabinet, Augsburg, attributed to Melchior Baumgartner, c.1660
  • Cabinet, Italian, c. 1680
  • Cabinet, Adam Weisweiler - inset with pietra dura panels, 1780 (The Green Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Side Table, Adam Weisweiler - inset with pietra dura panels, c. 1780 (The Silk Tapestry Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Cabinet (commode à vantaux), Martin Carlin - inset with pietra dura panels re-used from Louis XIVs great Florentine cabinets, c. 1778 (The Silk Tapestry Room, Buckingham Palace)
  • Casket, Italian: Florentine, c. 1720
  • Paire de cabinets, Martin-Eloy Lignereux - inset with Florentine plaques, c. 1803
  • Paire de cabinets, Pierre-Antoine Bellangé - inset with precious stones based on a Florentine design by Baccio del Bianco, c. 1820
  • Pair of cabinets, Robert Hume, c. 1820 (The Crimson Drawing Room, Windsor Castle)
  • Four Florentine pietra dura panels on 18th century cabinets, re-adapted, c. 1820s (The White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)

Micellaneous

  • Cabinet-on-stand, magnificent example composed of ebony, mid-17th century
  • Bureau, magnificent example similar to a version in both the V&A and the Getty Museum, 1690-95
  • Bureaux Mazarin x2, in Boulle style, late 17th century
  • Bureaux Mazarin x2, in Boulle style, c. 1700 (The Ballroom, Windsor Castle)
  • Bureaux Mazarin, late 17th century (The West Gallery, Buckingham Palace)
  • Deux paire de boulle bas d'cabinets

Marlborough House Workshops[edit]

The Works of Art Conservation Studio at Marlborough House is responsible for the in-house conservation of furniture and decorative objects located at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Frogmore House, Palace of Holyroodhouse, St. James's Palace, Sandringham House, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Osborne House.

Management[edit]

The Royal Collection Department is part of the Royal Household, responsible for the cataloguing, conservation, cleaning, restoration and display of the books, pictures, sculptures and other works of art collected by the British Royal Family. Buildings do not come under its remit. "Royal Collection Enterprises" employed 399 staff and enjoyed a turnover of £26.425M for the financial year to 31 March 2009.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Royal Collection - What is the Royal Collection?
  2. ^ The Royal Collection > About the Royal Collection
  3. ^ R. Brinley Jones, ‘Llwyd, Humphrey (1527–1568)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004
  4. ^ Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration. Edited by Jane Roberts. Publisher: Royal Collection Enterprises, St. James' Palace, London, 2002. Page 25 (by Sir Hugh Roberts) and Page 391 (chapter 14). ISBN 1-902163-49-4 (h-b uk) and ISBN 1-902163-52-4 (pb uk)
  5. ^ The Social Affairs Unit - Web Review: Dutch Paintings at the Royal Collection
  6. ^ Jones, Jonathan (30 August 2006). "The real Da Vinci code". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 22 May 2010. 
  7. ^ Company Accounts, available from Companies House

External links[edit]