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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 March 2014
Thankfully, my copy of this book does not have the problem described by the earlier reviewer. The British Royal Collection of paintings is the largest, having some 7000 works, and most famous private collection in the world, having been built up by monarchs from the Tudors to the Windsors. Christopher Lloyd, b. 1945, the author of this book, published in 1992, was Surveyor of The Queen's Pictures between1988 and 2005.

The text is arranged thematically in chapters that describe ‘The [Royal] Collectors’, ‘The Genius of Italy’, ‘The Kingdom of Nature’, ‘The Sword and the Sceptre’, ‘Private View’ and ‘The Regal Image’. These are followed by suggestions for Further Reading, a List of Illustrations and an Index. The book was published in association with the Channel 4 TV Series ‘The Royal Collection: A Journey through The Queen’s Pictures’.

The aim of the series and the book was to bring the paintings in the Royal Collection to the attention of a wider public. The Collection is displayed across many palaces and royal residences, not all of which are open to the public.

The book has 200 colour illustrations, mostly half-page size, of works by artists such as Holbein, Breughel, Rubens, van Dyck, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Canaletto. The work shown on the front jacket is a detail from an unknown artist’s portrait of “The Family of Henry VIII”, undated. HRH The Prince of Wales, a painter, appears to have typed a Foreword.

Lloyd points out in an illustrated Introduction that Charles I, George IV and Queen Victoria, with Prince Albert, were the most active royal collectors. Since fashions and styles in art wax and wane, the walls of royal residences are hung with masterpieces as well as works that are of far less significance.

The book is written in a rather reverential manner, as if the narrator is talking to us in a rather hushed tone so as not to disturb near-by Royals. In discussion of royal collectors, the works of van Dyck [“Charles I in Three Positions”, 1635-36; “Charles I with Monsieur de St Antoine”, 1633, “Cupid and Psyche”, 1639-40, and “Thomas Killigrew and (?) William, Lord Crofts”, 1638], Rubens [“Portrait of the Artist”, 1622, and “Landscape with St George”, 1629-30], Raphael [“The Charge to St Peter”, c. 1515-16], Rembrandt [“Portrait of the Artist’s Mother”, c. 1629, “The Shipbuilder and his Wife”, 1633, and “Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb”, 1638], Hogarth [“David Garrick and his Wife”, c. 1757], Thomas Lawrence [“George IV”, 1821], Joshua Reynolds [“Portrait of the Artist”, 1788], Gainsborough [“John Hayes St Leger”, 1782], Stubbs [“The Prince of Wales’ Phaeton”, 1793], David Wilkie [“The Defence of Saragosa”, 1828, and “The First Council of Queen Victoria”, 1838], William Powell Frith [“Ramsgate Sands: Life at the Seaside”, 1852-53] and Franz Xavier Winterhalter [“The Family of Queen Victoria”, 1846, “The First of May”, 1851, and “Queen Victoria”, 1843].

Italian works include Domenichino’s “St Agnes”, c. 1620, Pompeo Batoni’s “Edward Augustus, Duke of York”, 1764, and a large number of works by Canaletto, including “Rome: The Arch of Septimus Severus” and “Rome: The Arch of Constantine”, both 1742. Landscapes include Breughel the Elder’s “A Flemish Fair”, 1600, and “Massacre of the Innocents”, c. 1565 Claude Lorrain’s “Coast Scene with the Rape of Europa”, 1667, Gainsborough’s “Diana and Actaeon”, c. 1785, Titian’s “Death of Actaeon”, 1570-75, John Martin’s “The Eve of the Deluge”, 1840, Rubens’ “Summer” and “Winter”, both c. 1620, Landseer’s “Eos”, 1841,and “The Sanctuary”, 1842.

Royal portraits include van Dyck’s “The Greate Peece”, 1632, and “The Five Children of Charles I”, 1637, Frith’s “The Marriage of The Prince of Wales, 10 March, 1863”, 1863-64, Gainsborough’s “George III” and “Queen Charlotte”, both 1781, James Gunn’s “Tea at Royal Lodge”, 1950, Bastien-Lepage’s “Albert Edward, Prince of Wales”, 1879, and Heinrich von Angeli’s “Queen Victoria in Mourning”, 1899.

This is a comprehensive tour of pictures that are not all able to be seen by the public. As would be expected, works in the collection are generally conservative.
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VINE VOICEon 4 November 2013
This book is in excellent condition but the smell of damp coming from its pages is very off putting. I am hopeful that storage in a warm cupboard may help. fjs
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on 28 January 2015
Love this book great read fab pictures
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