Formed through centuries by British kings and queens, the Royal Collection today is one of the largest and most important collections of art in the world. Jaw-dropping art of incredible richness populates this idiosyncratic and personal collection of art. British monarchs from Henry VIII to Queen Elizabeth II have added to the Royal Collection, but none have equaled the collecting fervor of Kings Charles I and George IV, the greatest collectors in the history of the British monarchy. Charles I was a passionate collector of Italian paintings and a major patron of Van Dyck and other artists, while George IV had an acquisitive eye for all kinds of art, most especially the French variety. George IV benefited greatly from the upheaval of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, with the result that many pieces from the great French royal and aristocratic collections crossed the Channel to become part of the Royal Collection.
This lecture will highlight some of the hundreds of thousands of pieces of art under the care of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, including paintings, tapestries, and furniture housed in royal residences like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, and in public galleries. With a staff of 400 and locations throughout the United Kingdom, the Royal Collection today is a vibrant organization that maintains and continues to add to one of the most amazing collections of art on earth.