Royal Collection masterpiece arrives at Ferens Art Gallery

From Saturday 28 April, Sir Anthony van Dyck’s triple portrait of Charles I, Charles I will be on display at Ferens Art Gallery.

This ongoing partnership with Royal Collection Trust brings this masterpiece by Van Dyck to Hull for the first time. Van Dyck’s Charles I marks the second of five exceptional works generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection to Ferens between 2017 and 2021.

Following his arrival in England around April 1632, Sir Anthony van Dyck transformed painting in Britain. The artist’s triple portrait of Charles I, begun in 1635 and finished by June 1636, portrays the king from three viewpoints, each with a differently patterned lace collar and coloured clothing. The unusual format chosen for the portrait was due to its proposed use as a reference work for the Italian sculptor Bernini to create a marble bust of Charles I.

Van Dyck’s subject has a special resonance in Hull given the events which took place in 1642. Sir John Hotham, then Governor of Hull, refused to let Charles I enter the city, leading in part to the outbreak of the English Civil War. This important event was a popular subject for artists throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and examples from artists such as George Arnald are included in the display.

The exhibition is also an opportunity to explore Hull Museum’s extensive print collection, which contains works depicting Charles I and his wife, Henrietta Maria. Van Dyck’s paintings were widely copied and published in print form after his death, and a version of Charles I on Horseback with M. de St Antoine, 1633 (oil on canvas) will be on display.

Kirsten Simister, Curator at Ferens Art Gallery said:

“We are hugely grateful to Royal Collection Trust for this partnership and very excited to welcome this beautiful painting by Van Dyck to the city, the first time we have seen a painting by the artist in Hull.

“It follows the generous loan of the Rembrandt last year, and promises to bring something equally special and rare to audiences.”

Tim Knox, Director of the Royal Collection, said:

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with the Ferens Art Gallery with the loan of Van Dyck’s Charles I in 2018.

“Following the great success of Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Shipbuilder and his Wife at Ferens in 2017, we are very happy to be continuing our relationship with the Gallery until 2021, providing further opportunities for the people of Hull to experience and enjoy the Royal Collection.”

Charles I will be on display between 28 April – 29 July and entry is free.

The gallery is open Monday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, and Sunday, 11am – 4.30pm.