The Power of Art

Art was power for Britain's kings and queens. In a new BBC TV series, Andrew Graham-Dixon visits the paintings amassed by King Charles I, the first great royal collector in British history. He tells Andrew Marr why after Charles was executed his royal artworks were flogged across Europe. The lost royal collection will finally be reunited this year in an exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. Historian Leanda de Lisle brings the Stuart monarch back to life in her biography White King. But was the art-loving king a traitor, a murderer or a martyr? And it is not only kings who use art to impress. Don Thompson meets hedge fund managers and foreign oligarchs in his study of the contemporary art scene, while artist Kelly Chorpening describes the role of Camberwell College of Art in shaping the art scene.
Producer: Hannah Sander

Picture credit:
Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), Charles I in Three Positions, 1635-36
Royal Collection Trust / (c) Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018,

Release date:

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Mon 22 Jan 2018 21:30

Leanda de Lisle

Leanda de Lisle is the highly acclaimed author of three books on the Tudors and Stuarts.

White King: Charles I, Traitor, Murderer, Martyr is published by Chatto and Windus.

Andrew Graham Dixon

Andrew Graham-Dixon is one of the leading art critics and presenters of arts television in the English-speaking world.

Art, Power and Passion: The Story of the Royal Collection continues on BBC Four this Tuesday, 23rd January at 9pm.

Charles I: King and Collector opens at the Royal Academy on 27th January.

Don Thompson

Don Thompson is an economist, and emeritus Nabisco Brands Professor of marketing and strategy at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto.

The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market is published by Douglas and McIntyre.

Kelly Chorpening

Kelly Chorpening is an artist. She has been the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Drawing at 
Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Art London since 2006.A History of Drawing, curated by Kelly, is at Camberwell College of Arts until 16th February. 


Role Contributor
PresenterAndrew Marr
Interviewed GuestAndrew Graham-Dixon
Interviewed GuestLeanda de Lisle
Interviewed GuestKelly Chorpening
Interviewed GuestDon Thompson
ProducerHannah Sander