The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart
October 18, 2012 to January 13, 2013
The Lost Prince, is the first exhibition to look at the life of Henry, Prince of Wales (1594-1612), focusing on a remarkable period in British history, dominated by a prince whose death at a young age precipitated widespread national grief, and led eventually to the accession to the throne of his younger brother, the doomed King Charles I. The exhibition marks the 400th anniversary of the Prince’s death and will assemble for the first time an extraordinary range of objects associated with Henry, including major loans from the Royal Collection.
As well as paintings, a large selection of drawings, manuscripts, books, armour and other artifacts associated with the Prince will illustrate the extraordinary artistic and creative community that developed under his patronage. Gathered from museums and private collections in Britain and abroad, some have never previously been on public display.
The exhibition will include some of the most important works of art and culture produced and collected in the Jacobean period, including portraits by Holbein, Nicholas Hilliard and Isaac Oliver, masque designs by Indigo Jones, and poetry by Ben Jonson in his own hand.
Brave, handsome, clever, athletic, noble and cultured, Henry embodied all the princely virtues. In his short life he was the focus of great hope and expectation, not just in Britain but in all of Protestant Europe, and his court was the centre of a revival of chivalry and a renaissance in the arts. The exhibition, which explores Henry’s life and image, and the extraordinary reaction to his death, will transform our understanding of this exceptional prince and the time in which he lived.
Supported by The Weiss Gallery and individual exhibition supporters
The Lost Prince: The Life and Death of Henry Stuart catalogue hardcover)
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This exploration of Henry's life and image, and the extraordinary reaction to his death, transforms our understanding of this exceptional prince and the time in which he lived. In November 1612, shortly before his nineteenth birthday, Henry, the eldest son of James I and Anne of Denmark, died of typhoid fever after a short illness. The nation was struck by grief at the loss of this most promising prince who, it was believed, would become a king to transform Britain. Unlike his father, Henry was seen as militaristic, ardently Protestant and fiercely moral; he was also a precocious patron of the arts, collecting paintings, sculpture and books, commissioning ambitious garden designs and architecture, and performing in elaborate court festivities. Furthermore, Henry took an active interest in the navy and exploration, sponsoring an expedition to find the North-West Passage and giving his name to new settlements in Virginia. Authors Catharine MacLeod, Malcolm Smuts and Timothy Wilks examine Henry's upbringing and education, his court and patronage, his collecting, and finally his illness, death and legacy, and question traditional assumptions about the prince. The book showcases some of the most important works of art and culture produced in the Jacobean period, including masque designs by Indigo Jones, portraiture by Robert Peake and Isaac Oliver, poetry by Ben Jonson and music by Thomas Tompkins and William Byrd. Also featured are exquisite inlaid armour made for Henry, garden designs, renaissance bronzes, old master paintings from his collection, books from his library, and a selection of manuscript letters and writing exercises in Henry's hand.