3 January 2019

Charles II: Art & Power @ The Queen's Gallery

Portraits at the Charles II: Art & Power exhibition

There have been a few fine 17th century exhibitions in London over the past few years: Peter Lely at the Courtauld, the fantastic In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion at the Queen's Gallery, The Lost Prince: Henry Stuart at the NPG and the William Dobson 400th anniversary celebration at Somerset House.

Another two were running simultaneously in the capital last year: Charles I, King and Collector at the Royal Academy, and Charles II: Art and Power at the Queen's Gallery. Shamefully I missed the Royal Academy show (though it did get mixed reviews), but did manage to make it along to the Charles II exhibition, which was excellent. Here are some pics ... 

9 May 2017

Q&A: British Historical Medals of the 17th Century (Jerome J. Platt, author and collector)

THE ‘JUXON MEDAL.’ ALTHOUGH OFTEN REFERRED TO AS A ‘MEDAL,’ THIS GOLD PIECE IS ACTUALLY A PATTERN FOR A FIVE UNITE (FIVE POUND) COIN (M.I. 374/270; 38 MM.). IMAGE COURTESY OF THE TRUSTEES OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM.

Books on 17th century military campaigns rarely mention the award of medals. Beyond the odd token of appreciation handed out by the monarch, I was unaware of them being routinely issued at all.

So it was fascinating to learn that the practice became increasingly common during the 1640s, with medals from the period highly prized by collectors today.

The subject is explored in a new book, British Historical Medals of the 17th Century, by Jerome J. Platt. I asked Jerome about who typically issued these awards and why, and learned more about the background to his own collecting ...

23 March 2017

Wolfwalkers: Oscar-nominated animators' new 17th century feature


Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Wolfwalkers, an animated feature from the makers of Oscar-nominated film Song of the Sea (2014).

The film's set in Ireland during Cromwell's attempt to subdue the population through the killing of wolves ...

14 February 2017

An Epithalamion, or Marriage Song on the Lady Elizabeth and Count Palatine being Married on St Valentine’s Day (John Donne, 1613)

Frederick and Elizabeth, King and Queen of Bohemia

Today marks the 404th anniversary of the marriage of Elizabeth Stuart (sister of Charles I) to Frederick, the Elector Palatine.

The pair married on 14 February 1613, with lavish simultaneous celebrations in London and Heidelberg. John Donne was commissioned to write a marriage song to celebrate the occasion, so, for all those celebrating Valentine's Day, here it is ...