Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June represents a momentous cultural moment in celebration of her 70 years on the throne. Alongside being honoured partners of The Platinum Jubilee Pageant, Sotheby’s will present a month-long programme of exhibitions and events marking this joyous national milestone, which will complement our traditional fine art marquee auctions this Summer.
Spanning the visual, performing, literary and culinary arts, and providing a platform for the next generation of artists, the Jubilee season will showcase the breadth, diversity and excellence of British creativity. The galleries will be taken over by specially curated exhibitions of royal portraits, rare aristocratic jewels and important manuscripts, including works loaned from prestigious private collections from 28 May–15 June. Alongside the exhibitions, visitors will be welcomed to a diverse programme of talks, debates and musical and dramatic performances. These will center around the themes of arts and creativity, history and youth and future.
Presented in partnership with
Jubilee Arts Festival
Coinciding with the exhibitions, Sotheby’s London will also open its doors to a series of events, from daily dramatic readings and talks, to musical performances and book launches, by a diverse range of figures advancing and reinterpreting Britain’s treasured cultural legacy, offering something for all to enjoy.
Power & Image: Royal Portraiture & Iconography
For the last 500 years, royal portraiture has been a long-held tradition, allowing monarchs to present the image they wanted their subjects to perceive. Each captivating portrait tells the story of the sitter, whilst also providing an insight into the relationship between artists and patrons. This exhibition of portraits loaned from important country houses across the United Kingdom will present likenesses from the larger-than-life Tudors – the dynasty that first brought this art of the image to the fore – through to the modern portrayals of the present-day royals.
The exhibition will showcase portraits of each of the seven queens regnant of Britain, led by the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I, on loan from the Woburn Abbey collection. The famous painting commemorates the most decisive moment of Elizabeth I’s reign, the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in 1588. The most complete of three versions painted in that same year, the painting encapsulates the aspirations of the nation at a watershed moment in history whilst also carefully disseminating an awe-inspiring spectacle of female power and majesty.
A non-selling exhibition of noble and aristocratic jewels will present tiaras with British and European royal provenance. It will chart the history of this most stately jewellery format since the late 18th century, when it was exalted to courtly fashion by Napoleon Bonaparte and Empress Joséphine, in emulation of ancient Greek and Roman wearers. Prince Albert advanced this trend, as part of his wider interest in the art and engineering of jewellery making, by designing four tiaras for Queen Victoria. The tiaras on view will follow the evolution in designs prompted by monarchic taste, societal and economic shifts and influence from other art forms, through to contemporary jewellers redefining tiaras today.
Starring among these is a diamond tiara from the 1830s, designed as a wreath of diamond-set leaves in homage to the classical designs of ancient Rome and directly influenced by the revival of this symmetrical style during Napoléon’s rule. Heading into the 20th century, is an exquisite turquoise cabochon and diamond tiara by Van Cleef & Arpels, crafted in the 1960s at the peak of the West’s fascination for Indian culture and jewellery design. Further highlights include an impressive diamond tiara from the 1880s, comprised of ornate scrollwork and foliate detailing, and another from the early 20th century, designed as a series of graduated scrolling, openwork stylised ribbon heart motifs.
If visitors are tempted by the glittering sights, there is an option to purchase tiaras from a new generation of contemporary British designers.
Farm to Table at the Sotheby’s Restaurant
As part of the programming, Sotheby’s is partnering with Chatsworth, home to the Devonshire family, who will be collaborating with us in the Sotheby’s Restaurant, where our Jubilee menu will feature Chatsworth estate-reared lamb, fresh produce from the Chatsworth gardens, Chatsworth Gin cocktails and a range of locally-sourced ingredients from across the Derbyshire Dales.
For more information on how to sign up to events, go to: www.sothebys.com/jubileefestival
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