Sunday 24th September 2017
Our visit to Buckingham Palace took place in glorious sunshine on the last Sunday in September. Thankfully everyone was in time for the coach which enabled Mark, our Johnsons’ driver, to make a prompt start. This ensured that we arrived in London in time for the first group of members to embark on their timed visit to the Queen’s Gallery at 11 am.
Canaletto and the Art of Venice told the story of Canaletto’s superb paintings, drawings and prints of Venice which are now in the Royal Collection. It explained how they were bought by the young George III in 1762 from Canaletto’s agent and dealer Joseph Smith, British Consul in Venice, along with the rest of Smith’s huge collection.
Canaletto’s detailed sketches were truly mesmerising, filled with a wealth of architectural detail as well as charming depictions of contemporary people and their animals. The exhibition revealed how the painter eschewed accurate representations of buildings and perspective in order to achieve a more attractive composition.
to include a visit to the Royal Mews where they admired grey and bay carriage horses and the extraordinary carriages which they pull on ceremonial occasions. One of the most fascinating was the Diamond Jubilee State Coach first used in 2014.
It successfully combines traditional craftsmanship and modern technology with an aluminium body and six hydraulic stabilisers. The gilded crown on the top of the coach, carved from oak from HMS Victory, can hold a camera to film the crowds lining the route.
Finally everyone enjoyed a tour of the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace with its special exhibition telling the story of the Queen’s reign through a display of official gifts presented during the past 65 years. The variety of gifts on display was mind-boggling. Without doubt their donors gave a great deal of thought to their choice of gift and the results included such tributes as woven baskets made from banana leaf, a model of the Queen’s horse, Burmese, and a brightly coloured model truck painted with portraits of the Queen and Prince Philip. A special display in the Music Room paid tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales on the 20th anniversary of her death, with items including her desk and brief case selected by her sons for the occasion.
After enjoying afternoon tea in the Garden Café, with its views of the palace gardens, and the chance to purchase souvenirs from the Palace Shop, we made our way round the garden to the exit to be reunited with Mark and our coach for the journey home.