If debauchery, decadence and devilish beauty tickles your artistic taste buds then taking to trip to Hampton Court Palace may prove satiating. Until September 30, 2012, Hampton Court Palace will be hosting a new temporary exhibition entitled “The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned”.
As its name suggests, the exhibition promises to provide a poignant story of love, beauty, depravity within decadent royal art. The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned will explore the lives and loves of the libertines and courtesans who lived during the years of 1660 until 1714.
The main focus of this emotional exhibition will be the portraits if King Charles II’s mistresses, including Barbara Villiers and Nell Gwyn. ‘Beautiful Women’ will continue to run as a central theme throughout the exhibition, including the famous ‘Windsor Beauties’ collection of paintings, which were painted in the early o mid 1660s by Sir Peter Lely. The collection was given its name ‘Windsor Beauties’ as the paintings were originally on display in the Queen’s bedchamber in Windsor Castle.
The elegance and decadence of aristocratic life in the late 17th century that exudes from the ‘Windsor Beauties’ collection is reiterated by Godfrey Kneller’s ‘Hampton Court Beauties’, which are also on display at Hampton Court’s new exhibition. Sir Godfrey Kneller was a leading portrait painter in England during the late 1600s and early 1700s and was court painter to many British monarchs including Charles II and George I, meaning Kneller’s artistic presence at such a decedent monarchy-centred exhibition is paramount.
The theme of royal self-indulgence continues throughout the exhibition with the presence of many other Royal Collection paintings, rarely seen before artwork and elaborate fashion accessories, uniquely portraying the glamour and exuberance of the Baroque era.
Although Hampton Court’s The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned promises to engross its visitors in much more than simply gazing up at magnificent Royal paintings. Guests will be taken on a tour through the Queen’s state apartments and discover what he concept of beauty really meant in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In a press release for The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned, Brett Dolman, Historic Royal Palaces curator, said:
“Visitors to the exhibition will discover that ‘Beauty’ is not just an aesthetic experience: it is an instrument of ambition, a conduit to pleasure and a magnet for sleaze. This is a story about great art, but also about mistresses and adultery. Visitors will understand what beauty meant and how it was used in the late 17th and early eighteenth centuries, and they will reflect, perhaps, on their own appreciation of beauty today in the 21st century.”
During this exhibition, why not stay at the fabulous Luxury hotel in London, The Wyndham Grand in Chelsea Harbour? You can book online or by calling +44 (0)20 7823 3000.