At Home With The Stuarts At Windsor Castle

| 20 November 2003
Shows a photograph of the miniature of Anne of Denmark by Isaac Oliver.

Photo: Anne of Denmark by Isaac Oliver (c.1556-1617). Courtesy of The Royal Collection. © 2003 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Marking 400 years since the Union of the Crowns, artefacts from the Stuart dynasty held by the Royal Collection are on show in the Drawings Gallery at Windsor Castle until April 25, 2004.

Following the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, James VI of Scotland claimed the English throne and became the first Stuart king of England.

The Stuarts went on to hold the throne for over 100 years, until the death of Queen Anne in 1714. This exhibition of drawings, miniatures and books from the Royal Library reflect a period of flourishing court culture and great political upheaval.

The 17th century saw the development of a sophisticated visual arts culture in England, encouraged by Charles I and Charles II.

Shows a photograph of the drawing The Head of the Virgin by Michelangelo.

Photo: The Head of the Virgin, c.1540 by Michelangelo (1475-1564). Courtesy of The Royal Collection. © 2003 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Both were both passionate collectors and the display includes several of the finest Old Master drawings acquired by Charles II, such as Leonardo da Vinci's A pointing lady in a landscape and Michelangelo's The head of the Virgin.

One of the most exciting documents on show is a rare copy of the Treaty of the Union of 1706, which paved the way for the creation of the unified Parliament of Great Britain the following year.

It is signed and sealed by the Earl of Seafield, Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, and Thomas Tenison, Archbishop of Canterbury, and their fellow commissioners.

Included in the exhibition is the marriage treaty between Charles I and Henrietta Maria of France, signed in November 1624, four months before Charles became king on the death of his father, James I.

Shows a photograph of the miniature of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales by Isaac Oliver.

Photo: Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales by Isaac Oliver (c.1556-1617). Courtesy of The Royal Collection. © 2003 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

An intriguing curiosity included in the show is a copy of James I's Counterblaste to Tobacco (1604), his tirade against the recently imported practice of smoking tobacco.

Also on display are miniatures of the Stuart monarchs commissioned as keepsakes and personal gifts. Among these is a portrait of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, eldest son of James I and Anne, a likeness by which Charles I wished to remember his elder brother and regarded as the finest portrait of the Prince by court artist Isaac Oliver.

Other material depicts the turbulent political and social upheaval of the era. Contemporary prints show the battle of Naseby, the crucial military conflict of the Civil War, and the execution of Charles I.

Broadsheets proclaim the abolition of the Monarchy and the establishment of the Commonwealth and propaganda engravings mock Oliver Cromwell's presumption to the throne.

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