Cumberland Art Gallery Opens at Hampton Court Palace

Posted in museums by Editor on November 22, 2014


Cumberland Art Gallery at Hampton Court Palace
Photo from a tweet by Patrick Baty, who assisted with the project

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Press release (28 October 2014) from Historic Royal Palaces on the opening of the Cumberland Art Gallery:

This November, a stunning new art gallery will open at Hampton Court Palace, occupying a newly restored suite of rooms designed by William Kent for a Georgian prince. The Cumberland Suite—one of the earliest surviving examples of the Gothic Revival style—is situated at the heart of the palace, where Tudor meets Baroque and will now house changing displays of artworks, principally from the Royal Collection, reflecting the palace’s long history as a destination for the work of renowned artists.

The rooms designed by William Kent for William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, the youngest son of King George II, were the last major royal commission undertaken at Hampton Court. They will become a fitting backdrop for a display of treasures from the other legacy of Hampton Court’s royal residents: the Royal Collection. This winter, to mark the opening of the gallery, visitors will discover a selection of the Collection’s finest paintings: masterpieces by Holbein, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Bassano, and Gainsborough, and other artists who worked for, or were collected by, four centuries of royal patrons.

After two years of meticulous research, Kent’s Cumberland Suite has been returned as closely as possible to his original scheme. The great architect created a suite of rooms for a young prince which embraced the latest Palladian fashions but also took inspiration from the palace’s Tudor past. One of the rooms, the Duke’s large light closet, will be opened to the public for the first time in 25 years, to display the 12 smaller ‘Grand Canal’ views of Venice painted by Canaletto at the zenith of his career.

Hampton Court Palace has a long history of displaying great works of art. Over the centuries, successive monarchs filled the state apartments with splendid works of art for the private enjoyment of the royal family, or as imposing statements of regal authority. Although the palace’s life as a royal residence came to an end in the eighteenth century, thousands of artworks, now part of the Royal Collection, are still in their original locations and form part of the story of the palace today.

The Cumberland Art Gallery is a new dedicated space for artworks from the Royal Collection and will enable visitors to view and explore them in a gallery setting. The selection of paintings in our opening display broadly reflects the period of royal residency at Hampton Court, from the Tudor period to the middle years of the 1700s, when great royal collectors and connoisseurs, like King Charles I and Frederick Prince of Wales, assembled one of the largest and finest art collections of its kind in the world.

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