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The Royal Academy is to reassemble the art collection of Charles I

posted on 28/11/17

In January 2018, the Royal Academy will bring together highlights of the legendary art collection of King Charles I – for the first time since his execution in 1649.

The exhibition will feature works by great Renaissance painters such as Titian, Holbein and Mantegna, as well as by the leading contemporaries who the King commissioned, including Van Dyck and Rubens. All in all, Charles I: King and Collector will contain over 100 works of art, ranging from classical sculptures to Baroque paintings, and from intricate miniatures to enormous tapestries.

Charles I became a passionate art collector prior to his monarchy; following a visit to the Spanish court in 1623 where he met (and supposedly sat for) the great Golden Age painter Diego Velazquez. He amassed an art collection of an estimated 1,500 paintings and 500 sculptures, and ordered commissions including Rubens’ ceiling paintings in the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall. Following Charles’ execution, Cromwell’s Republican government sold the majority of the royal art collection, and it was scattered throughout Europe where much of it has remained since.

The Royal Academy’s exhibition, which runs 7 January–15 April 2018; will include 3 works on loan from the Louvre (two painted by Titian, and one of Van Dyck’s portraits of Charles I), while the Prado is lending five works. Other works will be assembled from the National Gallery and the Royal Collection. The exhibition also features what co-curator Per Rumberg has described as “arguably the most extraordinary set of tapestries ever made in England”.

In celebration of this landmark event in art history, we are holding an exclusive Charles I study day on Tuesday 27th March, with lectures by three esteemed experts providing further insight into this fascinating period of history.

The day includes lectures from the exhibition curators, Dr Per Rumberg, Curator at the Royal Academy, and Dr Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, as well as historian Leanda de Lisle, author of book White King: Charles I – Traitor, Murderer, Martyr, which has already received rave reviews. The talks will take place in the historic Society of Antiquaries (one of the five Learned Societies based at Burlington House), followed by a two-course lunch at a nearby restaurant and an afternoon visit of the exhibition, where the speakers will be on hand.


By Miles Rowland, Digital Marketing Assistant


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