The lost prince and the winter queen
royal portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, London
Robert Peake the Elder Prince of Wales c1610 (detail), oil on canvas, National Portrait Gallery, London
In association with the Australia’s most prestigious portrait prize – the Archibald Prize – the Gallery has partnered with the National Portrait Gallery, London to bring to Australia two exceptional 17th-century portraits of royals Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales and Elizabeth of Bohemia, children of James I.
These works are by the remarkable Jacobean portrait painter Robert Peake the Elder (c1551–1619), an artist whose works are rarely seen. Painted in a compelling, semi-naive style, they represent the height of fashionable British portraiture before the Dutch and Flemish influence of Lely and Van Dyck.
The tragic story of Henry, Prince of Wales was highlighted in 2012 in an acclaimed exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London titled The lost prince. Athletic, cultured and handsome, the teenage prince represented ‘all the hopes’ of an entire nation; his early death was devastating. The King was so distraught that he was unable to attend his own son’s funeral. Months later, in the midst of a formal diplomatic audience he broke down in groans, crying ‘Henry is dead, Henry is dead’.
3 Jul – 28 Sep 2014
Lowy, Gonski Gallery