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Progress

Episode 6 of 8

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 17 March 2012

The Royal Collection is one of the most wide-ranging collections of art and artefacts in the world and provides an intriguing insight into the minds of the monarchs who assembled it.

During the series, Will Gompertz encounters dozens of these unique objects - some priceless, others no more than souvenirs - each shedding light on our relationship with the monarchy and giving a glimpse into the essential ingredients of a successful sovereign.

In this programmes, Will explores the relationship the institution of the monarchy has had with that potentially corrosive agent - change. He finds that the most successful monarchs have understood and harnessed innovation - Henry VIII took an interest in wood so the Navy boats would be the best on the ocean, Charles II established the Royal Observatory so astronomers could find out more about the skies and better inform navigation. Queen Victoria asked Marconi to demonstrate a radio station at Osborne House and she took part in the first trans-Atlantic cable ever sent.

With the help of objects and curators from the Royal Collection, together with leading historians, Will studies objects that not only demonstrate the patronage of the arts and sciences but also illuminate the more personal expressions of learning and monarchical intellectual engagement.

Producer: Sarah Taylor.

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  • The Psaultier de David, with an inscription by Elizabeth I

    The Psaultier de David, with an inscription by Elizabeth I

    The Psaultier de David, containing an inscription by Elizabeth I (1533-1603). All Henry VIII's children were provided with a thorough education based on continental humanist principles which included instruction in the new Italic hand.

     

    From: Presented to Her Majesty The Queen, when Princess Elizabeth, in 1947  

    Date: c.1550  

    Material: Bound in black calfskin  

    Size: 132 x 91 mm  

     

    The Royal Collection

     

     

  • Royal Greenwich Observatory, commissioned by Charles II, 1675

    Royal Greenwich Observatory, commissioned by Charles II, 1675, portraits of Charles II and James II can be seen on the wall

    The great star or octagon room at the Royal Greenwich Observatory. The Observatory was commissioned by Charles II in 1675 at the same time as creating the position of Astronomer Royal. In this room observations were taken using instruments including the sextant and telescope. Portraits of Charles II and James II can be seen on the wall.

     

    From: England  

    Date: 1675

     

    The Royal Greenwich Observatory

     

     

     

     

  • Blue john perfume vase and candelabra

    Blue john perfume vase and candelabra designed by Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) and Sir William Chambers (1723-1796)

    Perfume vase and candelabra, designed by Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) and Sir William Chambers (1723-1796). Boulton's Birmingham workshops developed manufacturing techniques that enabled them to produce luxury objects at a lower cost.

     

    From: England.Purchased by George III  

    Date: 1770-1  

    Material: Blue john, gilt bronze, ebony  

    Size: 571 x 552 x 178 mm

     

    The Royal Collection

     

     

     

  • The first message sent by transoceanic cable, from Queen Victoria to the President of the USA

    The first message sent by transoceanic cable, from Queen Victoria to the President of the USA

    Ticker tape containing the first message sent by transoceanic cable, from Queen Victoria (1819-1901) to James Buchanan (1791-1868) President of the United States of America. The laying of a transatlantic telegraph cable enabled communications to reach America in a matter of minutes, rather than days.

     

    From: Presented to Queen Victoria

    Date: 8/16/1858

    Material: Ink on paper

    Size: 65 x 310 x 35 mm

     

    The Royal Collection

     

     

  • The Great Exhibition: Moving Machinery

    The Great Exhibition: Moving Machinery, lithograph after a 1851 watercolour by Louis Haghe (1806-85).

    The Great Exhibition: Moving Machinery, lithograph after a 1851 watercolour by Louis Haghe (1806-85). Prince Albert played a leading role in planning the Great Exhibition, and commissioned a series of watercolours to record the occasion.

     

    From: England. Published in Dickinsons' Comprehensive Pictures of the Great Exhibition of 1851, Volume II, 1854

    Date: 1854

    Material: Lithograph

     

    The Royal Collection

     

    The Royal Collection

     

     

  • The first televised Royal Christmas Message, December 25th 1957.

    The first televised Royal Christmas Message, December 25th 1957

    A photograph taken at the first televised Royal Christmas Message, December 25th 1957 from the Long Library at Sandringham House. The Queen holds a copy of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress which she quoted from during her Christmas speech.

     

    From: England Date: 1957

    Material: Gelatin silver print

     

    The Royal Collection

     

     

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  1. Image for The Art of Monarchy

    The Art of Monarchy

    Will Gompertz enters the Royal Collection to examine some of the objects that have adorned, defined…

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