Andrew Prince Investigates the Fate of Jewels in Royal Portraits

A lecture hosted by The Arts Society Ealing

Jewels featured in paintings at the National Portrait Gallery prompted some detective work
Jewels featured in paintings at the National Portrait Gallery prompted some detective work

February 20, 2024

The next lecture from The Arts Society Ealing will be given by Andrew Prince on the subject “A Portrait of Jewels: Following Missing Treasures Through Canvas.

This talk was inspired by his visit to the National Portrait Gallery. Seeing all the Tudor, Stuart and Hanoverian monarchs, dressed in their finery, he wondered where had all their spectacular jewels gone?

Among the many jewels he traced, Andrew follows ropes of glowing pearls that belonged to Catherine de Medici, Mary Queen of Scots, Elizabeth the First, Queen Victoria and now Queen Elizabeth II. He also follows a spectacular and historic diamond that belonged to King James the first of England, King Charles the First and was later sold, worn by Marie Antoinette, stolen during the French Revolution, purchased by a Russian Aristocrat and later mounted in a tiara by Cartier for an American Heiress, who then became a British Member of Parliament.

Andrew Prince has had many private commissions including Michael Jackson (a large crystal and pearl shoulder jewel) and Shirley Bassey (necklaces). In 2002, the V&A commissioned a collection of jewels to accompany the Tiaras, Past and Present exhibition. In 2005, Andrew made tiaras and jewellery for Mrs Henderson Presents starring Judy Dench. In 2009, pieces were commissioned for The Young Victoria starring Emily Blunt and Miranda Richardson. In 2012, he supplied a large collection of jewellery for Downton Abbey: Maggie Smith, Shirley MacLaine, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery were all adorned with elegant tiaras, combs, earrings and necklaces designed and created by Andrew.

The talk will be held at 7.30pm on Monday 26 February at St Barnabas Church Hall, Pitshanger Lane, Ealing (W5 1QG).

Visitors are welcome to attend at £8 per lecture (reduced to £3 for students); payment can be made by cash on the evening or in advance by contacting:

The Arts Society Ealing belongs to the large umbrella organisation, The Arts Society, previously known as the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies (NADFAS), which was founded in 1968. The local Society, which has a membership of around 140, is now one of the 388 member societies of The Arts Society that have been formed throughout the United Kingdom, in parts of Europe and in Australia and New Zealand.

The Arts Society Ealing holds 10 lectures a year and more information can be found by visiting its web site.

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