Watercolours and Drawings from the Collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Friday, 19 May 2006 to Sunday, 29 October 2006

The art collection formed by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother reflects her warm friendships with artists and her very personal response to a quality in works of art that she called ‘the effect of magic’.  Queen Elizabeth was an enthusiastic supporter of contemporary British artists of the early to mid-20th century and had a particular appreciation of the younger generation working outside the artistic establishment. This first exhibition of 73 watercolours and drawings from her collection has been selected to show the range of Queen Elizabeth’s taste, embracing artists as diverse as Thomas Gainsborough and John Bratby. 

From the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth as Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon aged seven to watercolours marking the celebration of her 100th birthday, the exhibition offers a record of  both  private  and  official  life.  Among  the  portraits  are  evocative  charcoal drawings by John Singer Sargent presented to Lady Elizabeth and the Duke of York (later King George VI) on their marriage in 1923.  Other works depict events of personal  and  national  significance,  such  as  the  Coronation  in  1937,  Victory  Night in  1945  and  the  Funeral  Procession  of  King  George  VI  in  1952.   Queen  Elizabeth also acquired drawings with royal connections, such as the three sketches by Sir David Wilkie of Queen  Victoria  as  a  girl  of  twelve,  preparatory  studies  for  an  oil  painting  also  in her collection.

Explore the exhibition