The Queen’s Paintings

These three paintings are from an exhibition of some of the Queen’s paintings that have been exhibited in the gallery adjoining Holyrood House here in Edinburgh.

The exhibition finished on November 4th, and the Queen in question is Queen Elizabeth II, and Holyrood House is her palace.

These three paintings were on the first wall of the exhibition. The one on the left is Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals (1630). The middle one is Thomas Kiligrew and William, Lord Crofts by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1638). The one on the right is Agatha Bas by Rembrant van Rijn (1641).

The story of the van Dyck painting is that Kiligrew has just lost his wife and is wearing her wedding ring on a black ribbon around his wrist. In his hand he has a sketch for his wife’s mausoleum. His secretary, Lord Crofts, is holding a piece of paper on which is written a draft of a eulogy.

Kiligrew has a terribly sad, almost reproachful look on his face , as though he is being asked to do something – to look at us – that he simply does not want to do.

The eye nearest the viewer is heavy, the eyelid drooping. He looks as though he is ready to cry.

It’s a wonderful example of van Dyk’s ability to make people in his paintings appear real and true.

I Came Back Here As Though Drawn By Gravity

After going around the exhibition, I came back here and stood back and looked at these three paintings. There is a crisp clarity to the Hals painting and there is a phenomenal sense of pure artistic capability in the Rembrandt.

I have never stood before three such great paintings by different artists arranged next to one another before.

It’s great that the Queen has put them on show, rather than them being seen only by her visitors.

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