The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact. Comprising almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts and running to more than a million objects, the Collection is a unique and valuable record of the personal tastes of kings and queens over the past 500 years.
Following the execution of Charles I in 1649, the greater part of the King’s magnificent possessions was sold by order of Oliver Cromwell, and the Royal Collection has largely been formed since the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
The most important additions to the Royal Collection were made by Frederick, Prince of Wales; George III; George IV; Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; and Queen Mary, consort of King George V.
The Royal Collection is held in trust by The Queen as Sovereign for her successors and the nation. It is not owned by her as a private individual.
Where can I see the Royal Collection?
- The Collection includes the majority of the contents of some 13 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public. These include Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Hampton Court, the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Osborne House and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. Here, works of art can often be seen in the historic settings for which they were originally commissioned or acquired.
- At The Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh, and in the Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle, aspects of the Collection are shown in a programme of temporary exhibitions.
- Touring exhibitions and loans to exhibitions in museums and galleries throughout the world are part of a commitment to broaden public access and to show works of art in new contexts.
- Over 3,000 objects from the Royal Collection are on long-term loan to museums and galleries around the United Kingdom and abroad, including the British Museum, The National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Museum of London, the National Museum of Wales and the National Gallery of Scotland.
- On this website you can explore over 225,000 objects from the Royal Collection. New items are being added all the time.
The Collection Online
Over 227,000 records about objects in the Collection can now be found online.
These records form a working database that we are improving and expanding on a regular basis.
Some records currently have minimal information, while others present a more comprehensive view. Some records are illustrated with professional photography, while others are accompanied by more basic images or no images at all.
The database is updated regularly with new and improved images and text. Other improvements under development include:
- related multi-media,
- 'The Royal Collection Near You' map, and
- a mechanism for visitors to post comments.
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