King Charles I’s art collection reunited for first time in 350 years

ICONINSIDER — King Charles I’s art collection is to be reunited for the first time in 350 years.
The paintings gathered by the monarch, who ruled from 1625 until his execution in 1649 – which caused the abolition of the monarchy until 1660 – were scattered across the globe by Oliver Cromwell after the royal’s death, but now the most famous pieces in his collection are set to be reunited for the first time in an exhibition by the Royal Academy of Arts.
According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, art curators from both the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Academy have spent two years travelling Europe to locate the paintings, and persuading those in possession of the artwork to let the pieces travel back to England for the exhibition.
Around 20 of the 150 paintings in the exhibition – many of which were painted by Anthony Van Dyke and Titian – are believed to have kept away from England since the 17th century when Oliver Cromwell sold them or sent them abroad following the end of the English Civil War.
Desmond Shawe-Taylor, Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, said he and Per Rumberg, curator of the Royal Academy of Arts, found it easy to persuade the foreign art collectors to give up their paintings, as many of them were “fascinated” by the work they were doing.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “The key thing in any negotiation is really to remember that the person making the decision is also a curator, and is therefore as enthusiastic about curatorial projects as the person asking for the loan.
“All the curators that we spoke to were fascinated by the subject and therefore found themselves personally as scholars inclining toward the loan.”
And Desmond also believes his presence helped in the negotiations, as the Royal Collection have been generous to foreign museums in the past.
He added: “I’m very gamekeeper, because the Royal Collection generally doesn’t borrow, we lend, whereas the Royal Academy is almost entirely poacher, so we sort of understand it from both points of view.
“My presence there reminds colleagues in other institutions that the Royal Collection has in the past been a generous lender.
“No institution would do a reciprocal arrangement, but we have in the past been very generous, for which these institutions are very grateful.”
Meanwhile, the BBC is planning a four-part TV series to be broadcast on BBC Four and presented by Andrew Graham-Dixon, examining the Royal Collection.
The Royal Academy of Arts intends to open the exhibition, entitled ‘Charles I: King and Collector’ from January to April 2018, and admission will cost £20.

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