The National Portrait Gallery, London Presents THE REAL TUDORS: KINGS AND QUEENS REDISCOVERED, 9/12-3/1
A special display for the first time showing rare and important loans alongside nearly all the National Portrait Gallery's portraits of the Tudor monarchs will open at the National Portrait Gallery, prior to a major exhibition in Paris, it was announced today (10 June 2014).
Highlighting groundbreaking new research undertaken as part of the Gallery's Making Art in Tudor Britain project and fully detailed in a major accompanying book, The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered (12 September 2014 - 1 March 2015) will allow visitors to rediscover the Tudor monarchs through the most complete presentation of their portraiture staged to date. This face-to-face encounter will be enhanced by the display of a single prized possession of each monarch, from a rosary to a ring.
The paintings include the Gallery's oldest portrait, that of Henry VII, which will be displayed with a Book of Hours inscribed by the king to his daughter; no fewer than six portraits of Henry VIII together with his rosary on loan from Chatsworth; portraits of Edward VI and a page from his diary in which he reports his father's death; five portraits of Mary I combined with her Prayer Book loaned from Westminster Cathedral; and several portraits of Elizabeth I displayed alongside her locket ring, a rare loan from Chequers, the Prime Minister's country residence. The search for a 'real' portrait of Lady Jane Grey in the sixteenth century will also be discussed through the display of a commemorative portrait of Jane that dates from the Elizabethan period.
Following its London run The Real Tudors: Kings and Queens Rediscovered will form the core of a larger exhibition organised in partnership with Réunion des Musées Nationaux - Grand Palais at the Musée du Luxembourg, Paris, in 2015.
Many of the portraits on display have been examined as part of the Gallery's Making Art in Tudor Britain project in which the use of scientific analysis has resulted in new discoveries and insights into the dating, technique and production of Tudor portraits. This important research has allowed the Gallery to ask fundamental questions about how, when and why portraits were made, and revealed new information about these familiar faces. A specially commissioned app will allow visitors to access this research in the display space, and to discover the preparatory marks of the artist that lie beneath the surface, which are revealed through x-radiography and infraredreflectography.
The scope of the research, which covers a long historical period, has also allowed the Gallery's team of curators and conservators to learn more about the practices of painters' workshops, changes in artistic techniques and the influence of foreign artists in England. Further information on the findings from the Making Art in Tudor Britainproject - including new research on over 70 Tudor and Jacobean portraits - is available online athttp://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/making-art-in-tudor-britain.php
Dr Tarnya Cooper, Chief Curator of the National Portrait Gallery, London, and Principal Investigator of Making Art in Tudor Britain, says: 'This special display is the result of research on our sixteenth century collections over the last seven years and will bring together some of the most important portraits of all the Tudor monarchs revealing how paintings were made and changed at later dates. Visitors will encounter multiple lifetime portraits of each monarch providing a fascinating and vivid impression of one of the most dynamic dynasties in history.'