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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Anthony van Dyck: Charles I with M. de St Antoine (1633)

The Royal Collection is the art collection of the British Royal Family. It is property of the monarch as sovereign, but is held in trust for her successors and the nation.[1][2] It contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, and about 150,000 old master prints, as well as tapestries, furniture, ceramics, books, and other works of art. It is physically dispersed between a number of locations; some, like Hampton Court Palace, are open to the public and not lived in by the Royal Family, whilst others, like Windsor Castle, are both residences and open to the public. The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London exists to show displays and exhibitions from the collection for several months at a time. There is also a Queen's Gallery next to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The collection's total value has been estimated at over £10 billion.[3]



Rubens: Pythagoras advocating vegetarianism, c.1618–30

Few items survive from before King Henry VIII. The most important additions to the collection were made by Charles I, a passionate collector of Italian paintings, and a major patron of Van Dyck and other artists. His collection was sold after his execution in 1649, but large numbers of works were recovered for the collection after the Restoration of 1660, when the Dutch Republic also presented Charles II with the Dutch Gift, and Charles later bought many paintings and other works. George III with the assistance of Frederick Augusta Barnard, added very large numbers, especially of prints and drawings, and Queen Victoria and her husband Albert were keen collectors of contemporary and old master paintings. Many works have been given from the collection to museums, especially by George III and Victoria and Albert. In particular most of the then royal library was given by George III to the British Museum, now the British Library, where many books are still catalogued as "Royal". The core of this collection was the purchase by James I of the related collections of Humphrey Llwyd, Lord Lumley, and the Earl of Arundel.[4]

Collection highlights


Paintings, prints and drawings

Return of the Bucintoro to the Molo on Ascension Day', by Canaletto. (1732)


Dutch school (200+ works)[5]

English school

Flemish school

French school

German school

Italian school


Decorative arts



The Royal Collection Department is part of the Royal Household, responsible for the cataloguing, conservation, cleaning, restoration and display of the books, pictures, sculptures and other works of art collected by the British Royal Family. Buildings do not come under its remit.



Dutch paintings
English paintings
Flemish paintings
French paintings
German paintings
Italian paintings

See also


External links


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