Exhibition: Charles I King and Collector

Royal Academy of Arts 

27 January–15 April 2018

 Sir Anthony van Dyck,  Charles I and Henrietta Maria with their two eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Mary (detail) , 1631-32, 303.8 x 256.5 cm, oil on canvas. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017. Image Source: royalacademy.org.uk

Sir Anthony van Dyck, Charles I and Henrietta Maria with their two eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Mary (detail), 1631-32, 303.8 x 256.5 cm, oil on canvas. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017. Image Source: royalacademy.org.uk

140 works from the extraordinary collection of King Charles I are reunited for the first time since their dispersal in the mid-seventeenth century. After years of bloody civil war in England, the King was captured, found guilty of high treason, and executed on 30 January 1649 outside Banqueting House, Whitehall. Following his death, Charles I's magnificent art collection was sold off by the Commonwealth and scattered all over Europe. It was not until 1660, when the throne was restored, that his son and heir, Charles II, returned from exile and reacquired a significant portion of his father's collection. Despite the efforts of the new King, the majority of Charles I's works were still beyond his reach. For this exhibition, the Royal Academy has collaborated with Royal Collection Trust to reunite paintings, sculptures, drawings and tapestries, borrowed from public and private collections in Europe and beyond.

Tickets £20 royalacademy.org.uk

NB. After more than a decade without a king - under austere Cromwell rule - Charles II restored the monarchy in 1660. The Merry Monarch set about reinforcing his position as king and glorifying the court via patronage of the arts.  See the collection Charles II: Art and Power, The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace (8 December 2017 - 13 May 2018) royalcollection.org.uk

Words by Lucy Chiswell, The Iris Letter February 2018.