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Exhibition Review: Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at the Queen’s Gallery from 24 May to 13 October 2019


The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace presents a major new exhibition entitled Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing which features over 200 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in over 65 years. The exhibition marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death and follows a series of 12 simultaneous exhibitions of Leonardo’s drawings from the Royal Collection at museums and galleries across the UK, which have attracted more than one million visitors.

The Royal Collection has one of the largest collections of Leonardo’s drawings which cover a wide range of the artist’s interests. The exhibition features works on painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

Although Leonardo da Vinci is famous for his paintings, in his lifetime he completed only around 20 paintings. The exhibition explores Leonardo as the ‘Renaissance man’, full of varied interests and skills. Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is organised both chronologically and thematically and include artistic projects that stretched on for years or even decades.

Whilst many artists use drawings for a quick outline or for practice, Leonardo’s drawings are often very different with remarkable detail. His approach would be considered today ‘scientific’ with the drawings accompanying ideas about anatomy, mechanics, light, water, botany and much more.

The first room includes the well known portrait of Leonardo by his pupil Francesco Melzi (A portrait of Leonardo c.1515–18) and the leather bound album created by sculptor Pompeo Leoni around 1590.

The album contained around 600 drawings and entered into the Royal Collection during the reign of Charles II.

Some of the highlights of the exhibition include anatomical studies include The fetus in the womb (c.1511), The heart and coronary vessels (c.1511–13) and The cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman (c.1509–10). Leonardo was allowed to dissect 30 human corpses with the intention of compiling an illustrated treatise on anatomy.

Remarkably there are the only six surviving preparatory studies for the Last Supper (1495–8), the painting still exists but it has been drastically changed over the centuries and these drawings give impressions of how it would looked originally.

Leonardo was fascinated by the natural world and drew landscapes, studies of water, flowers and animals. There are many drawings of horses throughout Leonardo’s work, which including studies for three equestrian monuments that were never completed.

Among the drawings are a series of sketches that he used in preparation for the now lost painting Leda and the Swan.

Leonardo is not known for his cartography skills, but a series of drawings including A map of Imola (1502) were created using highly accurate techniques of measurement.

Preparatory studies for paintings include studies for Salvator Mundi (c.1504–8) and The Madonna and Child with St Anne and a lamb (c.1508–19).

All the drawings are not with serious intentions, Leonardo did drawings of costumes for court events, head studies, satires on growing old, grotesque people and animals.

One of the last sections is much darker, his drawings of the Deluge can be interpreted as the artist looking towards his own mortality.

This remarkable exhibition allows visitors the opportunity to understand why Leonardo is seen as the archetypal ‘Renaissance man’. Not only was his range of interests broad but he indulged them all with a scientific outlook that was often years or centuries ahead of his time. His artist skills are shown even in smallest drawings with incredible levels of detail and beautiful execution. The exhibition is a unique opportunity to see a large number of extraordinary works and gain some understanding of why we still are fascinated by the many talents of Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years since he died.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
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The Strange History of Marble Arch


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Many Londoners and visitors to London are confused by Marble Arch that stands rather forlorn on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road. The 19th-century white marble-faced arch was built with quite grand intentions which never really were realised.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

John Nash was the favourite architect of the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Nash had successfully designed and planned such landmarks as Regent’s Park, Regent Street, Carlton House Terrace and parts of Buckingham Palace. Therefore Nash was the obvious choice to build a ‘Marble Arch’ which would be a gateway to Buckingham Palace and a celebration of British victories in the Napoleonic Wars.

Nash’s original design was based on the Arch of Constantine in Rome and the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Nash had a model made which is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum that illustrates his design which was approved by George IV. The arch is faced with Carrara marble with other select marble extracted from quarries near Seravezza. The various sculptures and a equestrian statue of George IV that would crown the structure were commissioned in 1828.

However, after the death of the King George IV in 1830, Nash was sacked by the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington, for overspending on the project. The architect Edward Blore was commissioned to complete the works in less grandiose and more practical fashion.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Blore found himself with a collection of statues and panels, but decided to complete the Arch without using most of the sculpture. The Arch was completed in 1833, the central gates were added in 1837, just in time for Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.

Blore used some of the friezes made for Nash’s arch in the central courtyard of Buckingham Palace. In 1835 many of the sculptures were given to William Wilkins to use in the construction of the new National Gallery. The Equestrian Statue of George IV, by Francis Chantrey that was due to be on top of the arch now stands on a plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Blore’s revised Marble Arch was erected as a formal gateway to Buckingham Palace in the 1830s but only lasted for seventeen years because when Buckingham Palace was enlarged, the arch seemed small and insignificant.

In 1850, the decision was taken to move the Arch to its current location of Cumberland Gate where it would create a grand entrance to Hyde Park in time for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The removal and reconstruction of the Arch was overseen by architect Thomas Cubitt who completed the complex process in only three months.

With vast crowds of people arriving for the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, Marble Arch was considered a grand entrance to the park. Marble Arch became a familiar landmark and played its role as an entrance for more than 50 years. However this was to change in 1908 when a new road scheme cut through the park just south of the Arch leaving it separated from Hyde Park. In the 1960s, the roads were widened still further, leaving the Arch in its isolated position and effectively cut off from the park.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In 1970, the Arch gained its Grade I listed status and small park created around the Arch. Since then there has been a number of ‘ideas’ to relocate the structure but it is still remains a familiar if unusual landmark near the busy roads of Central London.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Like many London structures, there has been a number of ‘urban myths’ related to the arch. It is often said that the Arch was removed from Buckingham Palace because it was too narrow to allow Queen Victoria’s State Coach through. In reality, Queen Victoria’s coronation procession and Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation procession passed through the Arch with no problems. The second myth is that Marble Arch was a former Police Station. It was used by the police for accommodation and surveillance but was not a police station. Part of the myth can be traced to poet, Sir John Betjeman who filmed inside Marble Arch for a 1960s TV documentary and mentioned it was a police station.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Marble Arch is one of London’s landmarks and has led to the area around the Arch to be known as Marble Arch with its own tube station on the Central line. The location of the Arch has been a famous site for centuries, nearby was the former site of the Tyburn gallows, a place of public execution from 14th to 18th century.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Buckingham Palace Family Festival Weekend – 4th to 5th August 2018

On Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 August, a two-day Family Festival at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery will be packed with drop-in activities for children, from arts and crafts activities and dance workshops to storytelling sessions and dressing up opportunities.

For the first time, visitors to the Family Festival will have the chance to join special Garden Storytelling Adventure tours and discover the fascinating stories hidden around every corner of the famous Buckingham Palace garden.

In the Palace’s Family Pavilion, activities are inspired by Turquoise Mountain, one of the three charities founded by HRH The Prince of Wales.  Turquoise Mountain is based in Afghanistan, where kite flying is a famous children’s pastime, and children will have the opportunity to create and decorate their own colourful kites to take home and fly.

The Family Pavilion is also full of activities exploring the working life of Buckingham Palace, including a quiet area with books, colouring sheets and listening stations, and a soft-play area for under-fives.  Children of all ages can try on the uniform of The Queen’s Guards or dress up as princes and princesses and pose on a recreation of the Palace’s famous balcony.

Families visiting the Royal Mews will see the Ascot Landau carriage that transported TRH The Duke and Duchess of Sussex through the streets of Windsor after their wedding ceremony in May 2018, which is on display for the summer period.  Children will also be able to meet some of the royal horses that live at the Mews.  Drop-in activities throughout the weekend will include storytelling and arts and crafts sessions, and opportunities for children to dress up as a footman in specially created livery, learn how to harness a horse, and find out what it really feels like to ride in a royal carriage.

Activities at The Queen’s Gallery are inspired by the exhibition Splendours of the Subcontinent, which will form a glittering backdrop for Indian dance workshops with the South Asian dance company Akademi.  Families can try on sparkling pieces of replica Indian jewellery, before creating their own decorative motifs using sticky gems, sequins and gold ribbon.

Families visiting all three venues with a combined Royal Day Out ticket will have the chance to enter a competition to win a cuddly corgi.

The Buckingham Palace Family Festival is at Buckingham Palace, the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery on Saturday, 4 and Sunday, 5 August, 11:00 – 15:00.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review: Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle in London – 28th July 2018

This weekend, cyclists take over the streets of London with the sixth edition of Prudential RideLondon which is considered the world’s greatest festival of cycling. Over the weekend of 28-29 July 2018, there will be a large number of events all over the capital.

Like the London Marathon, there is the excitement of watching the world’s best professional cyclists race in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic and Prudential RideLondon Classique. However, amateur cyclists can participate in the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 – a 100-mile challenge on the same closed roads as the professionals or they can ride the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46 – a 46-mile sportive created specifically for newer and also younger cyclists.

The weekend started off more sedately with Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle which offers riders a wonderful opportunity to experience the fun and freedom of cycling on traffic-free roads in central London.

The event showcases the capital as part of a festival of cycling with the route open from 09:00-16:00 and takes in the Strand and Lincoln’s Inn Fields and returns to the Victoria Embankment, taking in a section of the newly opened East-West Cycle Superhighway (CS3).

The eight-mile circuit passes iconic London landmarks including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England and again goes south of the river with a loop over Waterloo Bridge, offering views of London.

More than 70,000 cyclists enjoyed the traffic-free roads of central London in 2017 and it is expected this year will see even more cyclists along the route.

If riders want to take a break from the cycling, there is plenty of entertainment at the Festival Zones in Southbank, Guildhall Yard, Leadenhall Market, St Paul’s Churchyard, Aldwych, Lincoln’s Inn Fields and Green Park. At the zones there are a wide range of bike-based entertainment and activities throughout the day.

In Green Park, top stunt rider Andrei Burton and his world class team of male and female champions take on the world championship standard course which includes a series of replica iconic buildings as obstacles.

Interest in cycling has grown and grown in the last decade and the Prudential RideLondon is a great festival of cycling with a large number of events and attractions. Like the London Marathon there is something for everyone and is a wonderful day out for everyone especially families.

For more information , visit the Event website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Display Review: Prince and Patron at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace – 21st July to 30th September 2018


Each year, Buckingham Palace opens its doors to visitors to explore The State Rooms at the palace. This year there is a special display of over 100 works of art personally selected by The Prince of Wales to mark His Royal Highness’s 70th birthday year.

The display entitled Prince & Patron presents a wide range of paintings, decorative arts, works on paper, furniture and textiles from the Royal Collection and the work of artists supported by three of The Prince’s charities – The Royal Drawing School, The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts and Turquoise Mountain.

The display reflects the Prince of Wales life-long passion for art and his passion for promoting the creation and understanding of art. The Prince’s interest in art developed while growing up surrounded by the Royal Collection and for this display he has selected a number of works from the collection including 16th-century portrait drawings by Hans Holbein the Younger; Georges de la Tour’s painting Saint Jerome, c.1621–23; and a tiger’s head in gold and rock crystal (1785–93) from the throne of Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore in India.

Other highlights of the display include Napoleon’s cloak, Landseer’s portrait of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, an early 18th century Italian Bureau cabinet, Bassano’s The Adoration of the Shepherds and Zoffany’s The Tribuna of the Uffizi.

On a more personal level, the display includes two oil sketches of The Prince and The Duchess of Cornwall by Eileen Hogan, sketches of Prince William and Prince Harry, a triple portrait of the Prince of Wales by Susan Crawford, paintings of the Queen and Queen Mother by Michael Noakes and two watercolours of Balmoral painted by the Prince of Wales.

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2010, The Prince commissioned a series of drawings of veterans by alumni and faculty members of The Royal Drawing School. Four drawings from The Last of the Few series are included in the display.

The Prince of Wales is a strong advocate for the promotion of artistry and craftsmanship and selected recently visited the final degree show of The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts and selected Hannah Rose Thomas’s three portraits of Yezidi women for the Prince & Patron exhibition.

The display celebrates the Prince’s interest in  Eastern and Arabic art with a number of works in various media, the most spectacular is located in the centre of the Palace’s Ball Supper Room, it is a striking 2.3-metre-high cedar wood pavilion created by classical carver Naseer Yasna (Mansouri) and the woodwork team at Turquoise Mountain. The pavilion’s intricate carvings draw on the rich heritage of Afghan design and demonstrate how the charity is reviving traditional skills in historic communities.

This fascinating and eclectic display provides some insight into the personality of the Prince of Wales in his 70th birthday year, a constant theme is his admiration for high quality workmanship both in this country and around the world. The display is a strange mix of public and private which perhaps illustrates the pleasures and difficulties of trying to maintain some normality being surrounded by artistic treasures and public attention. Many of the works have been commissioned by the Prince or produced by artists supported by three of The Prince’s charities, this role of patron is a lesser known aspect of the Prince’s work which perhaps deserves wider recognition.

Prince & Patron is part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, 21 July – 30 September 2018.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

 

Review : Royal Gifts exhibition at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace – 22nd July 2017 to 1st October 2017

Buckingham Palace serves as both the office and London residence of Her Majesty The Queen and is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. For a limited period in the year, the State Rooms are open to the public in which a special themed exhibition provides some insights into the Queen’s life and reign.

Royal Gifts, the special exhibition at the Summer Opening of the Palace in 2017, tells the story of The Queen’s reign through a remarkable display of official gifts presented to Her Majesty during the past 65 years. Throughout her long reign, Queen Elizabeth II has been presented with gifts of great value and historical significance from world leaders such as former US President Dwight D. Eisenhower, former South African President Nelson Mandela and President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China.

However much of the focus of exhibition is to display the incredible craftsmanship from the United Kingdom and across the globe. The fascinating objects come from more than one hundred countries, and cross every continent.

The section on Europe illustrate an eclectic collection of gifts that include Francesco Valdambrini’s Polychrome female bust from the early fifteenth century, G Perlee’s (Amsterdam) Model barrel organ and a present from Pope Francis in 2014 of a Decree canonising King Edward the Confessor on 29 May 1679.

Many of the gifts celebrate local cultures and traditions including boomerangs, indigenous art from Australia, a Yoruba throne from Nigeria, a Queen inspired Tree of Life from Mexico, a Totem pole from Canada, a Duho ceremonial stool from the Bahamas and a Burmese Silver Tea set.

Some of the more unusual gifts include a bag of Salt from the British Virgin Islands, a pair of Mittens from Canada, a model bus from Pakistan, a hand painted jigsaw in a box from New Zealand, a pair of Ostrich shells from Namibia and a dinosaur fossil from Canada.

The Queen has met many major leaders throughout her reign and the exhibition includes a Scarf depicting San (Bushmen) hunting a herd of eland antelope from President Nelson Mandela, a Vessel of Friendship from President Xi Jinping of China and a framed photograph from American president John F. Kennedy.

This summer marks the twentieth anniversary of the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997. As a tribute, the desk where The Princess worked in her sitting room at Kensington Palace will be displayed in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace. Many of the objects on and around the desk have been selected by her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, to reflect her commitment to duty and their personal memories of their mother.

The fascinating Royal Gifts exhibition illustrates the importance of giving and receiving gifts in the world of Royal protocol. The Queen promotes British craftsmanship and other countries have followed that lead by giving gifts that highlight local crafts and traditions.

A ticket to the Summer opening of the Palace includes the Royal Gifts exhibition, the special display in the Music Room as a tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, a multimedia guide and access to the Terrace Café, the shop and a walk through the gardens to the exit.

Admission Prices

Adult £23.00, Over 60/ Student (with valid ID) £21.00, Under 17/ Disabled £13.00, Under 5 Free, Family £59.00 (2 adults and 3 under 17s)

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Video Review available here

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review : The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace

The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace evolved from the King’s Mews which was where the royal hawks were kept. The Mews were originally housed near Charing Cross on the site of the present National Gallery. The royal hawks were kept there from 1377 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1534 and was rebuilt as stables.

In the 1760s, George III moved some of his horses and carriages to the grounds of Buckingham House, which he had acquired in 1762. However it was not until the reign of George IV that the royal stables transferred completely to Buckingham Palace. The King commissioned the new Royal Mews from John Nash who built grand stables around the riding school, a Doric-style arch with a clock tower, leading into the quadrangle of the Mews. In the reign of Queen Victoria, up to 200 horses were kept at the stables within the Royal Mews.

The Royal Mews is part of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office and provides road transport for The Queen and members of the Royal Family by both horse-drawn carriage and motor car. The Royal Mews is still a working stable but also houses the royal collection of historic coaches and carriages.

State vehicles are housed and maintained at the Royal Mews. They include the carriages used for royal and State occasions, such as State Visits, weddings and the State Opening of Parliament. Carriages from the Royal Mews are also used on roughly 50 occasions each year to convey newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors from their official residence to Buckingham Palace to present their credentials to The Queen.

The most ornate of all coaches housed in the Royal Mews is the Gold State Coach, which has been used at every coronation since that of George IV in 1821.

The latest coach to join the collection of royal coaches is The Diamond Jubilee State Coach which was built to commemorate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was first used at the State Opening of Parliament on 4 June 2014. The coach has a number of unusual features, the interior of the coach incorporates items donated by over 100 of Britain’s historic sites and organisations. The seat handrails are from the Royal Yacht Britannia, and the window frames and interior panels include material from Caernarfon Castle, Canterbury Cathedral, Durham Cathedral, The Mary Rose (Henry VIII’s flagship), 10 Downing Street, and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton, a British lead musket ball from the Battle of Waterloo and a specimen of the metal used to create Victoria Cross medals. The Diamond Jubilee State Coach also combines traditional craftsmanship and modern technology. The vehicle has an aluminium body and has six hydraulic stabilisers. The gilded crown on the top of the coach is carved in oak from the HMS Victory.

Other coaches of interest is the Irish State Coach, purchased by Queen Victoria for £858 in 1852 and the 1902 State Landau, built in 1902 for King Edward VII which has been used for recent royal weddings including that of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

A visit to the Royal Mews allows visitors to see some of the carriage horses that are stabled in the complex. The Cleveland Bays are used to escort newly appointed High Commissioners and Ambassadors to their audience with The Queen and the famous Windsor Greys  draw the private carriages of the royal family. Both set of horses must be at least 16.1 hands (1.65 metres) high and are chosen for their steady temperament and stamina.

A visit to the grand State Stables allows visitors to experience sitting in a carriage with a replica of a Semi State Landau which is decorated in royal carriage livery and has real suspension. The stable have a number of interactive displays that will entertain all the family in which it is possible to dress up as a footman or learn how to harness a horse.

Other places of interest is the Riding School, the Livery Room and the Harness Room which gives some illustration of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of many of the great Royal events.

Whilst the Royal Mews is probably not on the top of the many visitors list to visit, it is one of the most interesting royal related attractions in London with plenty of interest for all the family. Being a working stable, visitors can also witness the working day of the Royal Mews staff and watch some of training of the horses.

Video Review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Admission to the Royal Mews is Adult £10.00, under 17 £5.80, Under 5 Free.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here