Whether you’re an unabashed fan of the British royals or a staunch republican, there’s something undeniably fascinating about royal portraiture. Maybe it’s those pale faces that even in repose demand your full attention, or the ample bodies swathed in finery, or the often overt political positioning? Or is it the opportunity to try and a glimpse a flash of the ordinary or human behind all the pomp and circumstance?
Queen Victoria by Bertha Müller, after Heinrich von Angeli, 1900. Photo © National Portrait Gallery, London
The curious will have plenty of opportunity to do so come March, when Bendigo Art Gallery welcomes more than 150 royal portraits from London’s National Portrait Gallery. Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, charts the image making of five royal dynasties, beginning with those familiar Tudors and encompassing the Stuarts, the Georgians, the Victorians and the Windsors.
“Britain is obviously known for its royal history, so it’s really interesting to explore the crafting of monarchical power through portraiture,” says the National Portrait Gallery’s Dr Louise Stewart, curator of Tudors to Windsors. “It tells us about the ways in which the power...