Friday, 6 March 2015

Painting Paradise - the new Exhibition at The Queen's Gallery

Opening on 20th March a new exhibition - Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden - will display the ways in which the garden has been illustrated over the centuries with more than 150 paintings, drawings, books, manuscripts and decorative arts on display.

There will be some of the spectacular paintings of royal landscapes, jewel-like manuscripts and beautiful botanical studies. These show the changes in gardens from the 16th to the early 20th century and will include paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and some of the fabulous work of Carl Faberge.

The first real garden painting on record in British art is Henry VIII's Great Garden at Whitehall Palace which forms the background of the painting The Family of Henry VIII, (c.1545).

In the 18th century there was great rivalry between the French and English kings as to who could produce the most elaborate royal garden. In the exhibition there is a panoramic view by Jean-Baptiste Martin of the gardens at Versailles (c. 1700) and 'A View of Hampton Court' by Leonard Knyff (c.1702-14).

The 19th century saw the advent of the 'natural' look as created by Capability Brown - and copied by others - which features in many paintings, but Queen Victoria and Prince Albert wanted more domestic paintings. This produced work by Edwin Landseer (who painted the Royal couple in the East Terrace Garden at Windsor Castle) and William Leighton Leitch who did a watercolour of the Swiss Cottage at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

Flower designs were very popular on porcelain, silver, furniture and textiles. Jacob Wauters (c. 1650) produced a vine-covered tapestry of a pergola; Faberge created the beautiful 'Bleeding Heart' which has flowers suspended from gold stems so that they quiver and look as if they are being blown by the wind.

This exhibition runs from 20th March - 11th October 2015 at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace (entrance in Buckingham Palace Road).

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