There are three different attractions that can be visited at Buckingham Palace: Queen’s Gallery, The Royal Mews, and The State Rooms. On the day, Sunday, we went to Buckingham Palace only the Queen’s Gallery was open. The State Rooms are open this year from 20 July to 29 September. As it happened, the Royal Mews were also closed on Sundays during February and right up until the end of March.
Despite not being able to see everything, we did enjoy seeing the Queen’s Gallery. Furthermore, while inside the gallery, we took advantage of their 1 year pass offer. We’ve had our tickets stamped and we can visit the Queen’s Gallery as many times as we want in an year. That’s a really good offer as the gallery has special exhibitions.
The current exhibition is Russia, until the 28th April. After that, from May to October it will be Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, followed from November by George IV: Art & Spectacle. So, if you go to London a few times it’s worth having your ticket stamped. The other exhibition was on Photographs of the Crimea.
We’ve started our visit with the exhibition about Russia. It was amazing to see on display paintings I’ve seen previously in TV shows and/or books, as it was the one on the left, of Catherine the Great.
In the second room we’ve took a seat to listen to a short talk about Russia, given by a passionate guide. He was so energetic and made a few jokes. I’ve enjoyed the talk a lot. After that, we went on to look at the paintings and the other items that were on display.
I was intrigued by this gorgeous table. It is from 1874, but the maker is unknown. It’s wonderful that this table survived both the Russian revolution and WWII.
Another item that caught my eyes was this Fabergé basket of flower. Carl Fabergé was commissioned by the last two emperors of Russia to make 50 eggs for Easter between 1885 and 1917. Those eggs were the most complex works of art he made. Again, it is wonderful that this item still exists.
Finally, the painting I like the most in the exhibition is of the Family of Queen Victoria in 1887, by Tuxen. The backdrop is one of the rooms at Windsor castle and the painting was commissioned to mark Queen’s Victoria Golden Jubilee.
The painting has a long explanation box, in which there are noted 54 persons from the painting, princes and princesses, kings. It is quite a remarkable painting.
I mentioned earlier that there is a second exhibition, Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea. The pictures were taken in 1855, one year before the war was over.
The Crimean war was between Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire, the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Russian Empire. The allied nations wanted to prevent Russia in gaining control over regions in eastern Europe, including some near the Black sea and Romania.
The pictures are stunning, so it is worth visiting the exhibition. One of the pictures on display was of a Vivandiere, women that would help the war effort with preparing food, drinks, and other domestic duties. I’ve seen that picture before, painted in colour by Marina Amaral and included in the book she co-authored with Dan Jones The colour of time.