Published in The Daily Gleaner, Wednesday June 29th, 2011
By Tara Chislett
When it comes to the Royal Family, it’s the portraits – not the written stories – that most people remember, says the chief curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.
“It is through portraiture that our perceptions and conceptions of the kings and queens of the British monarchy have been given material form,” said Terry Graff.
“However much of their lives have been documented by text, it is through artists’ eyes that we are best able to visualize them and to understand how their contemporaries saw them,” he said.
On Thursday, the gallery will open Royal Portraits, a special exhibition in celebration of the recent marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton and their upcoming royal tour of Canada.
Bernard Riordon, gallery director and CEO, said the show will be an opportunity to share the art in the gallery’s permanent collection with the public.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with the Monarchist League of Canada, New Brunswick branch, and to offer our many visitors this spectacular presentation of the faces of the British monarchy as represented by select portraits from our permanent collection and from private and public collections,” he said.
Portraits taken from the gallery’s permanent collection will be on display until Jan. 8 and the show will include monarchs such as Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Queen Elizabeth I, King Edward VIII and other individuals associated with British nobility.
Among highlights of the exhibition, for the first time in more than 200 years, is Matthew William Peter’s 1787 painting Henry VIII, Act V, Scene IV, The Christening of Princess Elizabeth will be on display.
The painting will be at the gallery on loan from Graham Gordon, a private collector who rescued it from an uninhabited castle in Ireland in the 1970s.
The exhibition will also include contemporary portraits of the monarchy by Canadian artists.