Exhibition update

I promised a reader I’d review the Charles I exhibition, which I was lucky enough to see on its opening day last Saturday. It has taken more than 350 years, but we are at last able to see for ourselves just why the loss of King Charles I’s art collection is so lamented. The Royal Academy and the Royal Collections Trust have put together a truly magnificent show, and no written review can really do justice to the effort that has gone into bringing these works together.

The cast-list for Charles’s collection includes many of the greatest names in art history. The 17th century is represented by, among others, Titian, Orazio and Artemesia Gentileschi,  Rubens, Mytens, Velasquez, and, of course, Charles’s favourite, Sir Anthony Van Dyck, whose works take up an impressive amount of wall-space. The great equestrian portraits of the King, brought together – possibly for the first time – convey the majesty and power Charles wanted his court painter to convey.

Also present, from the 15th and 16th centuries, are greats such as Titian, Mantegna,  Raphael, Tintoretto, Correggio, and Veronese.


For an extra special bonus to all the wonderful artworks, one room is dedicated to the huge tapestries created at the Mortlake tapestry factory on the banks of the River Thames in London.

As a representation of the greatest European artists, you’ll be hard pushed to see another of this scale and quality, so you have until April to make it to this one!


Leave a comment


  1. Susanne

     /  February 13, 2018

    Thank you for the update. Is the catalogue worth buying (seeing as I already have some books covering a lot of the paintings)?

    Have you been to the other exhibition ‘Charles II : Art & Power’?

    There’s quite a lot going on at the moment (not that I’m complaining).


  2. Seconding Susanne’s question re the catalogue (assuming they would ship overseas).

    The equestrian portraits – does this mean the one of him riding through an archway, and the one of him on the huge dun horse, are together? That’s an amazing thought. I’d love to see all the Van Dycks together. The Mytenseseses, too, I like his portraits a lot. ::heaves sigh::


  3. I bought the catalogue as it’s a once in a lifetime show, and because it includes other pictures from the collection that weren’t available to travel, such as the Leonardo of John the Baptist, which is at the Louvre. I don’t often buy but couldn’t resist this one! It shows the works in the context of where/whom they were bought from, and their relationship to each other, so that alone makes it definitely worth getting.

    I’m sure there will be availability to post overseas. If I recall correctly, the paperback was £29.99, and the hardback 40ish.

    And yes, the three huge equestrian portraits are in a room by themselves. Quite incredible!😊

    I definitely want to make it to the Charles II show, and see this one again if I can!


  4. stevecunio

     /  February 13, 2018

    We did both on the same day. The Charles II does indeed have the coronation portrait (although it is apparently not really a coronation portrait). The Charles I is more spectacular. But I wouldn’t have missed either. Carrying both books back on the train was a bit heavy, particularly as the C II one is hardback only.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. it’s wonderful to have them both on at the same time. We’re really spoiled at the moment!



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