Philobiblon: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste

Monday, August 30, 2004

Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste

... is the title of the exhibition on George III and Queen Charlotte at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace.

I visited this afternoon, as promised earlier, but was serious disappointed. There is nothing on George's interest in scientific instruments, beyond clocks and barometers, and only one small case on the Queen's patronage of botany and "women's" crafts. There is an awful lot of ordinary to bad royal portraiture and really ugly silver and china, however.

And the £7.50 entry charge is seriously expensive for what only amounts to three rooms, even if there is Molton Brown handwash in the loos. I'm not surprised that the staff often outnumber the visitors. (It must be losing a mint!)

But there were a couple of highlights:

* an astronomical clock of 1765 that was in the octagon library (which from a print looked very like a miniature round reading room) that also told the time at 30 places around the world (although displayed so you couldn't see all four sides!)

*a nice portrait of Mary Granville, Mrs Delany, (of which there was unfortunately not a postcard) to go with the collection of papercut cut-outs, a couple done by her, others by Princess Elizabeth and the sewing kit the Queen gave her.

Overall it seems Queen Charlotte was a promoter of botany, particularly for women (nothing wrong with that), needlework and obscure crafts such as the paper cutting. e.g. some really hideous gilded chairs were upholstered with embroidery by "the pupils of Mrs Phoebe Wright's school". The value that was placed on these was shown by the fact that the collection of Mrs Delany's papercuts was dispersed (read thrown out) after the Queen's death.


Blogger Sharon said...

Why is it that at exhibitions there is *never* a postcard of the picture/object I like the most?

£7.50, eh? That'd be pretty expensive even if it were much better than it sounds. I'll stick to all the free museums I think...

8/31/2004 11:58:00 am  

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