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25 January 2018Queen's Gallery. Charles II: Art and Power
27 September 2017Oxford Union Murals & Burne-Jones tapestry in Exeter College
12 September 2017Lamport Hall, Northants
05 July 2017Kensington Palace and the Serpentine Gallery
15 May 2017Wellby Collection
11 May 2017Paul Nash and the Wittenham Clumps Walk
26 April 2017HOLIDAY to Naples
07 March 2017Surprising Nudes; Ashmolean leacture
20 February 2017The Oxford of Inspector Morse A Guided walk with Alistair Lack
07 February 2017Paul Nash Exhibition at Tate Britain
14 December 2016Christmas Lunch
10 November 2016Visit to the V&A. Review
01 November 2016Picture Frames at the Ashmolean museum. Review
29 September 2016Guided tour of the Bodleian Library. Review
14 July 2016Shipwrecks - Lecture at the Ashmolean
29 June 2016Madresfield Court & Beauchamp Community, Malvern. Review
25 May 2016Dinah Reynolds at the Ashmolean What is Porcelain – the finest of all Ceramic Wares?
13 April 2016Cookham - Stanley Spencer Gallery and John Lewis Archive
11 February 2016Painting the Modern Garden
02 December 2015Christmas lunch with the Organ Grinder
13 October 2015Windsor Castle
29 July 2015Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
24 June 2015Winchester Flower Festival
02 May 2015ADFAS HOLIDAY: Loire Valley & Monet’s Garden
25 February 2014Royal Albert Hall and a Kensington Museum, London
27 November 2013Australia, Royal Academy, London
26 September 2013Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life, Tate Britain, London
10 July 2013Burghley House, Lincolnshire
09 April 2013American Museum, Bath
18 December 2012Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Christmas Cracker Concert, Cadogan Hall, London

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Queen's Gallery. Charles II: Art and Power
Thursday 25 January 2018

Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace

 Charles II: Art and Power

 Thursday 25 January 2018

The Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, after the years of austerity under Cromwell’s Commonwealth, was like a switch from black-and-white to colour.   Charles II presided over a cultural resurgence in England, and its variety and abundance are displayed in this enjoyable exhibition, which ranges from sumptuous court portraiture and regalia, to scientific books, architectural plans, and curious details like the “touch-pieces” or tokens issued to sufferers from the King’s Evil (scrofula) who came to court hoping to be cured by the magic touch of the monarch.


In his years of exile at the court of Louis XIV, Charles had learned a thing or two about the political power of display, and this exhibition shows, besides its aesthetic triumphs, an impressive public-relations campaign that put the king and his court at the centre of the national life.  Courtiers, mistresses, and the occasional servant are portrayed here, usually against a background of conspicuous luxury.  After the Puritan aberration, these images proclaim, Britain is once again rich and relaxed, stable and comfortable.


Chronologically, two images bookend the show.  The first is a melancholy portrait by Edward Bower showing an ageing Charles I, bewildered but dignified, during the trial that would see him sentenced to death in 1649. The second is rather different.  Charles II is portrayed, a year before his own death in 1685, in a rescued fragment of fresco by Antonio Verrio from the ceiling of St George’s Hall at Windsor.  Heavy-lidded but still faintly amused, and resting on a rainbow, the old reprobate looks down from his sumptuous vantage on a mission shrewdly accomplished.