An ‘impossible dream’: Charles I’s art collection to be brought back to UK

Artworks acquired by Charles I which were sold off by Oliver Cromwell’s republican government are to return to the UK for a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of one of the most stupendous art collections ever created. The Charles I exhibition, a collaboration between the Royal Academy of Arts (RA) and the Royal Collection Trust, will reunite spectacular works by artists such as Titian, Van Dyck, Rubens, Holbein and Mantegna, some of which are coming to Britain for the first time in nearly 400 years. It is the sort of exhibition art curators fantasise about, but was always seen as an “impossible dream”, according to Jonathan Marsden, director of the Royal Collection. That is because so many of the finest works were sold abroad never to return, despite the efforts of Charles II to restore his father’s collection. The exhibition will kick off the RA’s 250th anniversary year in January 2018. Christopher Le Brun, the president of the RA, said he had been hillwalking with Desmond Shawe-Taylor, the Queen’s surveyor of pictures, in 2012 and asked him if he could make the greatest exhibition of his lifetime what it would be: “In a flash, he said Charles I, the king’s pictures. Extraordinarily, we’ve… Read full this story

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