The Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London, embraces over 500 years of British history, more than 60,000 sitters and explores ideas of social change, power and influence. Arguably as powerful and influential as any individual are the heads of state and empire, whose portraits are among the most popular in the Gallery’s Collection.
For the exhibition that accompanies this book, the portraits of kings, queens, statesmen and stateswomen featured will go on tour for the first time, providing international audiences with the opportunity to encounter these famous historical and contemporary personalities face to face. The publication traces major events in British history and examines the ways in which royal portraiture has reflected individual sitters’ personalities and wider social, cultural and historical change. Works are arranged chronologically in sections, each of which is prefaced by an introductory text and timeline providing context to the period in question. Particularly significant portraits from each period are ac companied by extended captions that provide key information on the sitter and the artist. Tudors to Windsors also considers how each dynasty has been perceived and interpreted subsequently, with reference to popular culture and contemporary sources.
A number of features on topics such as Royal Favourites, Royal Weddings, Satire, Royals at War, and Royal Fashion and Jewellery provide insights into particular aspects of royal portraiture and trends within the genre.
The publication includes a foreword by the Gallery’s Director, a fully illustrated introductory essay discussing royal patronage and key artists in royal portraiture, and an essay by David Cannadine on the historical role of the monarchy in Britain.