Upcoming Exhibitions at the Royal Collection London

John Michael Wright, King Charles II  Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

John Michael Wright, King Charles II

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017


The Stuart Court will be centre stage in two major upcoming art exhibitions

Charles II: Art and Power, at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, opens on 8 December 2017. Featuring over 200 artworks, objects and furnishings from the Royal Collection, the exhibition will provide a palpable sense of the magnificence of his court. Continuing the showcase of early modern material culture, Charles I: King and Collector opens soon thereafter, on 27 January 2018, reassembling a number of prized paintings from the king’s original art collection as well as an important set of tapestries. Charles I’s collection was truly outstanding, with particular strengths in Venetian and Northern Renaissance pictures as well as a stunning array of portraits by Van Dyck. The king’s collection included works by Bosch and Breughel, Caravaggio and Correggio, Da Vinci and Del Sarto, Giulio and Giorgione, Holbein and Honthorst, Raphael and Reni, Rubens and Rembrandt, Titian and Tintoretto. After Charles I’s execution in 1649, Parliament sold and gave away much of the collection, with many of the masterpieces being dispersed abroad, never to return. Several now hanging in the Louvre and the Prado will return to London for the exhibition. 

Both exhibitions will be accompanied by catalogues. The Charles II catalogue, edited by Rufus Bird and Olivia Fryman and published by the Royal Collection Trust, is available from December. We will circulate details about the Charles I catalogue when they are available.

Read more about the exhibitions from the Royal Collection Trust here.

Further reading:

The inventories from the Commonwealth sales have been published: Oliver Millar, ed., The Inventories and Valuations of the King's Goods 1649–51, Walpole Society 43, 1970–72.

For further reading on Charles I’s art collection, see

Andrew Barclay, ‘Recovering Charles I’s Art Collection: Some Implications of the 1660 Act of Indemnity and Oblivion’, Historical Research 88, no. 242 (November 2015), pp. 629-49.

Jerry Brotton, The Sale of the Late King's Goods: Charles I and his Art Collection, 2006.

Jonathan Brown, Kings and Connoisseurs: Collecting Art in Seventeenth-Century Europe, 1995.

Francis Haskell, The King's Pictures: the Formation and Dispersal of the Collection of Charles I and his Courtiers, 2013.

Arthur MacGregor, ed., The Late King's Goods: Collections, Possessions and Patronage of Charles I in the Light of the Commonwealth Sale Inventories, 1989.

For further reading on Charles II, see

S. Gleissner, ‘Reassembling a royal art collection for the restored king of Great Britain’, Journal of the History of Collections 6 (1994), pp. 103–15.

Anna Keay, The Magnificent Monarch: Charles II and the Ceremonies of Power, 2008.