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Friday, January 28, 2022

‘Refreshes the soul’: Largest ever collection of watercolours painted by Prince Charles goes on display

A known painting enthusiast, Prince Charles — the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II — began painting in the 1970s, which he says "transports me to another dimension"

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 13, 2022 6:20:53 pm
Prince CharlesThe exhibition, which has opened at The Garrison Chapel at Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia, London, contains spaces dedicated to many geographic areas. (Source: AP)

The largest-ever display of Prince Charles’ works to date, an exhibition by the Prince’s Foundation, is showcasing 79 of his watercolours.

A painting enthusiast, Prince Charles — the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II — began painting in the 1970s, which he says “transports me to another dimension”, a display panel for the exhibition, on till mid-February, reads.

Speaking about his love for painting, he added, it, “quite literally, refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach…”

The exhibition, which has opened at The Garrison Chapel at Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia, London, contains spaces dedicated to many geographic areas, such as the Scottish mountains, and the East African country of Tanzania — understood to be “one of The Prince’s favourite places to paint,” a note on the foundation’s website said.

Rosie Alderton, curator of the exhibition, said, “His Royal Highness has said before that he likes to sit in the actual environment and paint en plein air, and that, for him, taking a photograph doesn’t have the same feel as a painting. His passion for creating beautiful art is conveyed strongly in this exhibition. We’re very much looking forward to presenting this special collection to the public from November and into the new year.”

Explaining why he chose painting over photography, Prince Charles said, “I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying. Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolour and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography. I very quickly discovered how incredibly difficult it is to paint well in such a spontaneous medium, and the feeling of frustration at not being able to achieve on paper the image that your eye has presented you with is intense!”

According to the Prince, the great thing about painting “is that you are making your own individual interpretation of whatever view you have chosen”. “It obliges you to sit down and make a careful observation of the selected subject, you discover so much more about it than by just pointing a camera and arriving at a result which is probably almost identical to somebody else’s photograph. As a result, you become increasingly aware of things that may have escaped your attention previously – things like the quality of light and shade, of tone and texture and of the shape of buildings in relation to the landscape. It all requires the most intense concentration and, consequently, is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know.”

While his paintings have many admirers, the 73-year-old revealed that he is dismayed by his initial few sketches. “Looking back now at those first sketches I did, I am appalled by how bad they are.”

However, he refrained from calling his work “great art” and said: “I am under no illusion that my sketches represent great art or a burgeoning talent! They represent, more than anything else, my particular form of ‘photograph album’ and, as such, mean a great deal to me.”

Also on display is a tapestry, which is a woven interpretation of one of Prince’s paintings, Abandoned Cottage on the Isle of Stroma, that took Ben Hymers eight months to complete.

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