I wasn’t expecting an invitation to tea with the Queen.
Which was just as well – I didn’t get one. But I did receive an invite to a Bloggers’ Breakfast followed by a preview of ‘Painting Paradise’ – the new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Pulling on smart clothes (of a sort) and fishing bits of bramble out of my beard, I flunked off work and scurried up to town.
After coffee, pastries and mingling, we entered the galleries for an expertly guided tour by the curators. Here are just a few of the works I particularly liked (and was able to photograph in low light):
the earliest surviving portrait of a professional gardener (looking uncannily like Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell);
a beautifully detailed panorama of William III’s new gardens at Hampton Court;
an early, and rare, depiction of a gardener at work (with dog, if no mug of tea);
and a vibrant watercolour of Jekyll-inspired planting, bringing to my mind the long borders at Nymans.
I loved this intimate, absorbing exhibition featuring a rich and varied array of decorative arts: paintings, manuscripts, da Vinci drawings (see header photo), sculpture, porcelain
and jewels; all from the Queen’s private collection and many on public view for the first time.
‘Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden’ is a short walk from Victoria station. The exhibition opened on 20th March and runs until 11 October 2015. For more information see: The Royal Collection Website