Diamond Jubilee Exhibitions
Find out more about the national programme of exhibitions that took place across the UK to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee
The Royal Collection
The Royal Collection announced a programme of exhibitions at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and a touring exhibition to five UK venues to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.
Sixty photographs of The Queen, including the work of leading press photographers of the past six decades, were displayed at Windsor Castle to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. The exhibition presented a portrait of The Queen’s reign as captured in fleeting moments on both official occasions and at relaxed family gatherings. With the advent of photography, the boundaries between the officially approved and the spontaneously captured image of the monarch were irreversibly blurred. Today, through the reach of modern media, the image of Her Majesty is familiar to millions around the world. Most of the exhibition The Queen: Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years was selected from photographs submitted by the Royal Rota photographic organisations.
An exhibition of some of the finest treasures from the Royal Collection went on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2012. Royal Treasures: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration reflected the tastes of monarchs and other members of the Royal Family who have shaped one of the world’s great art collections. The selection of 100 outstanding works was made across the entire breadth of the Royal Collection, from eight royal residences and over five centuries of collecting, and included paintings, drawings, miniatures, watercolours, manuscripts, furniture, sculpture, ceramics and jewellery. Highlights include paintings by Rembrandt, Canaletto and Monet, drawings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Holbein, and Imperial Easter Eggs by Fabergé. It was the first time that most of the works had been shown in Scotland.
The largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s studies of the human body was shown at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace in 2012. Leonardo has long been recognised as one of the great artists of the Renaissance, but he was also a pioneer in the understanding of human anatomy. He intended to publish his ground-breaking work in a treatise on anatomy, and had he done so his discoveries would have transformed European knowledge of the subject. But on Leonardo’s death in 1519 the drawings remained a mass of undigested material among his private papers and their significance was effectively lost to the world for almost 400 years. Today they are among the Royal Collection’s greatest treasures.
Diamond, the hardest natural material known, carries associations of endurance and longevity. These qualities, allied to the purity, magnificence and value of the stones, have for centuries led rulers to deploy diamonds in regalia, jewellery and precious objects. Individual diamonds have achieved great renown, passing down the generations and between enemies or allies as potent symbols of sovereignty and as precious gifts.
A spectacular exhibition at Buckingham Palace will show the many ways in which diamonds have been used by British monarchs over the last 200 years. The exhibition includes an unprecedented display of a number of The Queen’s personal jewels – those inherited by Her Majesty or acquired during her reign. The exhibition revealed how many of these extraordinary stones have undergone a number of transformations, having been re-cut or incorporated into new settings during their fascinating history.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, 13 January – 25 March 2012
Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, 30 March – 10 June 2012
Ulster Museum, Belfast, 15 June – 27 August 2012
The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery & Museum, 31 August – 4 November 2012
Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, 10 November 2012 – 20 January 2013
Ten of Leonardo da Vinci’s finest drawings in the Royal Collection toured five venues across the UK. The drawings were selected to reflect Leonardo’s use of different media and the extraordinary range of his activities: painting and sculpture, engineering, botany, mapmaking, hydraulics and anatomy. The exhibition included designs for chariots fitted with flailing clubs, a study of the head of Leda, a drawing of oak leaves, a double-sided sheet of anatomical sketches, a design for a scheme to drain marshland, a view of a river from a window, a costume study of a man on horseback, drawings of apocalyptic scenes, and a rough study of an old man in profile, one of the last drawings made by the artist.
Marcus Adams (1875-1959) overturned the long tradition of formal royal portraiture. Between 1926 and 1956 he created a unique record of two generations of royal children, presenting a new, relaxed image of royalty. Vintage prints from almost all the royal sittings were amongst the 100 works in the exhibition, many formerly part of the personal collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The centrepiece was a charming group of photographs of the very young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret taken in the late 1920s and 1930s.
The National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum opened 'Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames' in April 2012. The exhibition explored the relationship between The Queen, the City of London and the River Thames.
To find out more visit The National Martime Museum website.
National Portrait Gallery
To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee the National Portrait Gallery staged ‘The Queen: Art and Image’, a touring exhibition of sixty of the most remarkable and resonant images of Her Majesty.
To find out more visit The National Portrait Gallery website.
Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
The Victoria and Albert Museum held an exhition featuring portraits of The Queen by royal photographer Cecil Beaton, celebrating Her Majesty in her roles as princess, monarch and mother.
To find out more visit the Victoria and Albert Museum website.