Two very different exhibitions at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace this November will illuminate two contrasting worlds: Georgian Britain and the Dutch Golden Age.
Blunt, sometimes bawdy and often irreverent, the work of Thomas Rowlandson (1757–1827) offers a new perspective on an era best known through the novels of Jane Austen.
The absurdities of fashion, the perils of love, political machinations and royal intrigue were the daily subject matter of one of the wittiest and most popular caricaturists of Georgian Britain.
Rowlandson made his name poking fun at politicians, foreign enemies and even members of the royal family. Despite this, it was George III (1738–1820) who began the collection of around 1,000 caricature prints by Rowlandson in the Royal Collection today.
Around 100 works by Rowlandson will go on display in High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson at The Queen’s Gallery from November 13. Covering Rowlandson’s life and art, the exhibition will explore the perhaps surprising popularity of Rowlandson’s work with George III, George IV, and later with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
Satirical prints were hugely popular in Georgian Britain – collected by the fashionable elite and laughed over at dinner parties and in coffee houses. Interestingly, although George IV collected caricatures, he also attempted to suppress and censor prints that showed him in a bad light, caught in a never-ending game of cat-and-mouse with inventive and mischievous printmakers.
A quieter, more reflective side of life will be explored in Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer, which also opens on 13 November at The Queen’s Gallery, with one ticket giving you entry into both exhibitions.
The exhibition will feature 27 of the finest 17th- and 18th-century Dutch paintings in the Royal Collection, including Vermeer’s The Music Lesson and works by some of the finest artists of the day, among them Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch and Jan Steen.
Produced during the Dutch Golden Age, when the Netherlands was at the forefront of commerce, science and art, these works render ordinary scenes of everyday life in extraordinary detail.
Masters of the Everyday: Dutch Artists in the Age of Vermeer, at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace will be shown alongside High Spirits: The Comic Art of Thomas Rowlandson from 13 November 2015 to 14 February 2016.
For visitor information and tickets for The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, go to www.royalcollection.org.uk or call 020 7766 7301.