An Australian Exclusive to Bendigo Art Gallery
'Tudors to Windsors' traces the history of the British monarchy through the outstanding collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London. This exhibition highlights major events in British (and world) history from the sixteenth century to the present, examining the ways in which royal portraits were impacted by both the personalities of individual monarchs and wider historical change. Presenting some of the most significant royal portraits, the exhibition will explore five royal dynasties: the Tudors, the Stuarts, the Georgians, the Victorians and the Windsors shedding light on key figures and important historical moments. This exhibition also offers insight into the development of British art including works by the most important artists to have worked in Britain, from Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller to Cecil Beaton and Annie Liebovitz.
To bring these royal figures to life, Bendigo Art Gallery has secured key loans of historic fashion, armour and personal effects which will be featured alongside these magnificent and imposing portraits. Significant lenders: Historic Royal Palaces, the Bath Fashion Museum, Royal Armouries, FIDM Museum, LA, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria and Art Gallery of South Australia.
Getting from the Train Station to Bendigo Art Gallery
Bendigo Art Gallery is about 10 – 15 minutes walk away from the railway station. Route 50, 52, 53, 54, 55 and 63 buses will take you from the train station to the gallery. Your V/Line ticket gets you free local bus travel, conditions apply.
Here are some of the exhibition highlights:
Queen Elizabeth I, The Ditchley Portrait’ c. 1592
One of the most celebrated portraits of Queen Elizabeth I, this painting was probably commissioned as part of an entertainment staged by prominent courtier Sir Henry Lee at his house at Ditchley, Oxfordshire in 1592. Elizabeth stands on the globe of the world, with her feet planted on England. She is shown banishing stormy darkness, probably a reference to her forgiveness of Lee who had fallen from favour after choosing to live with his mistress. Representing the queen as ethereal and all-powerful, this is an enduring image of the majesty of sixteenth-century monarchy.
Coronation of George III, from the studio of Allan Ramsay
Bendigo Art Gallery’s collection is fortunate to hold one of the significant full-length coronation portraits of George III. George III was a very popular monarch and when Ramsay painted the coronation portrait in 1762 (now in the Royal Collection Trust) many versions were commissioned by members of the aristocracy. This painting was donated to Bendigo Art Gallery in 1985 and was displayed in the Law Courts for many years before returning in rather poor shape. This painting is currently undergoing extensive conservation and will be unveiled in Tudors to Windsors. During the conservation process it was revealed that the painting had been commissioned by the 4th Earl of Sandwich and hung in his home Hinchingbrooke House.
Evening dress worn by Queen Victoria in 1875
When Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, died in 1862 she adopted the tradition of wearing mourning clothing, but while society dictated a strict period of two years for mourning, the Queen remained in mourning for the rest of her life.
Oliver Cromwell’s death mask
Cromwell played a critical role in the English Civil War and the downfall, and subsequent execution of King Charles I. Cromwell became Lord Protector of England in 1653, but died in office in 1658 – he was treated like royalty and buried in Westminster Abbey and a wax cast was made of his face immediately following his death. Upon the restoration of the monarch in 1660 Cromwell’s body was exhumed and was hanged at Tyburn.
Princess Margaret by Lord Snowdon
Queen Elizabeth II by Annie Liebovitz
Painted portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Barry Organ