MGM 2005 - New e-Gallery Shows Off Royal Collection

By David Prudames | 27 April 2005
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Shows a screenshot of the new e-Gallery. It includes a series of thumbnail images accompanied by links.

The Royal Collection © 2005, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

One of the most extensive and celebrated collections of art and artefacts in the world is now available to the public online.

Called the e-Gallery, this multimedia catalogue of some of the greatest works of art and artefacts in the Royal Collection takes in such items as a drawing by Leonardo da Vinci and George IV’s Diamond Diadem.

Launched during a reception at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham House to usher in Museums and Galleries Month 2005, the gallery sits nicely with this year’s theme: Objects of Desire.

"The theme of this year's Museums and Galleries Month has particular significance for the Royal Collection, which has been shaped by the collecting passions of kings and queens over 500 years," a spokesperson told the 24 Hour Museum.

"We hope that the e-Gallery will encourage visitors to explore the fascinating stories behind some of the greatest works of art in the Collection and that its special features will unlock the secrets of how these objects were made, acquired and used."

Shows a screenshot of a page from the new e-Gallery, featuring the Mosaic Egg by Carl Faberge.

The Royal Collection © 2005, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The e-Gallery was originally developed in 2002 for visitors to The Queen’s Galleries at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse to provide an interactive version of physical exhibitions.

Now it’s online and available to anyone who can search by artist, maker, collector, subject matter or theme. It boasts material from across the Royal Collection, including paintings, drawings, furniture, clocks, silver, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, books and manuscripts and arms and armour.

There are currently entries for over 1,500 items, but this number will increase as the site is added to regularly.

However, it’s not just a chance to click through pages of unique and in many cases stunning objects, the e-Gallery also offers a wealth of information on each item including contextual material from the Royal Archives and Royal Photograph Collection.

Invoices, letters and photographs provide an insight into the origins of objects or when they were commissioned or bought.

Shows a screenshot of a page from the new e-Gallery, depicting the Mosaic Egg by Carl Faberge and a black and white photograph of Tsar Nicholas II's children.

The Royal Collection © 2005, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The entry for the Mosaic Egg, commissioned from Carl Fabergé by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, reveals an enamelled medallion decorated with profile portraits of the imperial children, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia and Alexis.

Confiscated during the Russian Revolution, the egg was later purchased by the Tsar's cousin, King George V, as a birthday gift for Queen Mary. The invoice from the Royal Archives is shown on the e-Gallery and is made out to 'H.M.The King' for the sum of £250.

Furthermore, special ‘explore’ features show automata in motion, how objects were originally used, the complex workings of scientific instruments, hidden compartments in furniture or how conservation has uncovered a painting's original composition.

The more nosy viewers out there can even find out how George III produced a perfect boiled egg for his breakfast using a gadget given to him by his daughters on his 66th birthday.

Have a quick nose around the new e-gallery here: www.royalcollection.org.uk/egallery/.
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