Behind the Royal Image
BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz, begins an 8-part exploration of almost one thousand years of the British Monarchy as told through the objects of art they collected. In a weekly journey that takes him from the wilds of Balmoral in Scotland to the isolation of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, from the State Rooms in Buckingham Palace to the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, he'll be selecting choice items from the Royal Collection to see what they betray about the art of statecraft and a successful reign.
In each programme historians, academics and Royal Collection curators shed light on the mystery of kingship and the importance of faith, war, magnificence, progress and the people in the minds of monarchs.
He begins his investigations by looking at some of the most personal royal images in the Collection to see what insights they give us into the lasting power of the monarchy. From the very earliest royal photographs to the revealing portrait of a seductive Victoria, and from the forgotten son of Henry VIII to the manipulated images of George III, Will asks how important understanding their own image has been to the longevity of our Kings and Queens.
Producer: Paul Kobrak.
An intimate portrait of Queen Victoria
This portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873) was commissioned by the young Queen Victoria as a surprise gift to her husband, Prince Albert (1819-1861), on the occasion of his 24th birthday.
From: England. Commissioned by Queen Victoria
Date: 1843Material: Oil on canvas Size: 648 x 534 mm
Photograph of Princess Elizabeth, taken by her father
This photograph of The Queen, when Princess Elizabeth, was taken at Balmoral by her father, King George VI, when Duke of York. Princess Elizabeth watches Charlotte the parrot, with Queen Mary, her brother Alexander Earl of Athlone, and Snip, the King's terrier.
From: Taken at Balmoral. From Queen Mary's photograph album.
Date: September 1928
Material: Gelatin silver print
Size: 72 x 99 mm
The first royal 'photograph' - a daguerreotype of Prince Albert
Daguerreotype of Prince Albert (1819-1861), by William Constable (1783-1861). This photograph was the first to be taken of a member of the British Royal Family.
From: Taken at Constable's studio in Brighton.
Size: 87 x 63 mm
Henry Fitzroy, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII
Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Somerset (1519-1536) was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII and Elizabeth Blount, a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon. He died from tuberculosis aged 17. Miniature in watercolour by Lucas Horenbout (c.1490/5-1544).
From: England. Acquired by Queen Victoria
Material: Watercolour on vellum laid on card
Size: Approx. 44 mm diameter
The elderly and ailing George III
This is an early version of what would become one of the defining images of the elderly and ailing George III (1738-1820), during his final illness at Windsor Castle. It is a mezzotint by Samuel William Reynolds (1773-1835). On the orders of the king's eldest son, the future George IV, the artist revised the image by tidying the monarch's unkempt appearance. The print was later used as the basis of an enamel portrait of George III depicted as an elderly man by Joseph Lee (1780-1859).
Size: 432 x 320 mm, 432 x 323 mm, 430 mm x 319 mm
George III depicted as an elderly man by Joseph Lee (1780-1859)
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