From Diamonds to Da Vinci: ambitious exhibition programme for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee

By Poppy Bragg | 10 May 2011
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a photo of a diamond encrusted tiara
The Girls of Great Britain Tiara (1893). R and S Garrard © The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Royal Collection will celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 by exhibiting many of its finest works of art at three royal residences and five museums and galleries across the UK.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse will host an exhibition of 100 of the Royal Collection’s outstanding treasures with a diverse selection featuring paintings, watercolours, manuscripts, furniture, sculpture and jewellery.

a photo of the Queen and Prince Philip with their Land Rover
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh at Badminton Horse Trials (April 1968)© John Scott, (c) Alpha Press
Highlights will include the Queen’s collection of Imperial Easter Eggs by Fabergé, paintings by Canaletto, Rembrandt and Monet and drawings by Michelangelo, Holbein and Raphael.

At Windsor Castle the Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years exhibition will feature images of the Queen throughout her reign, both on official occasions and at family gatherings. 

An exhibition focusing on diamonds, including an unprecedented display of the Queen’s personal jewels, will be held at Buckingham Palace during its 2012 summer opening. This will show the way that diamonds have been used by the monarchy during the past 200 years. 

But the highlight of the celebrations will be an exhibition exploring the work of Leonardo da Vinci as Buckingham Palace plays host to an exhibition of Da Vinci’s studies of the human body.

In addition, ten of the Royal Collection’s Da Vinci drawings will be toured to five venues around the UK.

a drawing of the head of a woman
Leonardo Da Vinci, The head of Leda (circa 1505-6)© The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The drawings on display will reflect Da Vinci’s use of different media, and include a study of the head of Leda, drawings of apocalyptic scenes, a design for a scheme to drain marshlands and a rough study of an old man in profile – one of Da Vinci’s last drawings.

The tour will go to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Ulster Museum in Belfast, The McManus: Dundee’s Art Gallery and Museum and Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.

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