Love Old Masterpieces? Then head out of your room at Presidential Apartments Kensington for the Royal Academy and the Queen’s Gallery to see two of the most stunning exhibitions in London. This is where you can find out about one of the greatest art collections of all time, and the stories of two royal art collectors.
The exhibition, Charles I King and Collector, is at the Royal Academy, Piccadilly until 15 April, 2018. It reunites over 100 items from one of the greatest art collections of all time.
Charles I is one of the most notorious kings in British History. As an art collector, he created a legendary art collection – much of which now forms the basis for the museums of the Louvre and Prado. He was determined to create an exceptional art collection, which would exceed any other during the seventeenth century. He amassed the most incredible collection of art works, including classical sculptures, miniatures, tapestries and paintings by artists like Durer, Van Dyck, Titian, Holbein, Durer and Rubens. But it was not destined to stay complete for long. As a result of conflict with Parliament, there was a civil war and he was defeated, eventually being put on trial and executed. His collection was sold.
Over twenty years later, his son Charles was invited to return from exile as King Charles II. Almost immediately, Charles began to buy back as many pieces from his father’s collection as possible, and to commission other works which would reflect the power and authority of the monarchy. This collection forms the basis of the Royal Collection, on display in royal residences throughout the UK as well as within the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Until May, 2018, the Queen’s Gallery is hosting an exhibition focusing on Charles II Art and Power. On display are paintings such as Brueghels Massacre of the Innocents, spectacular silver gilt furniture, tapestries, and a portrait of King Charles II in his coronation robes. Visiting this exhibition while a resident at holiday apartments London provides a fantastic opportunity to compare the art interests of two kings, seeing works of art that are unequalled anywhere in the world.
Other links to these two kings can be seen throughout London. Charles II was born in St James Palace, located in the Mall, which has been a royal residence since the days of King Henry VIII. Both he and his father used the royal palaces of Hampton Court and the Tower of London, but perhaps the royal link is strongest at The Banqueting House in Whitehall. Built on the orders of Charles I, it has the most incredible ceiling painted by Rubens. Under both kings, the Banqueting House was a centre of revelry and merriment, of balls and masquerades. For Charles I it also marked the end of his life, for he was executed just outside the building.
So, if you are travelling to London and selecting a place to stay in London, consider location. Booking an accommodation at serviced apartments Central London will be more economical.