This weekend, a pair of exhibitions opened at Sotheby’s in London to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Here’s a peek inside the exhibition spaces, courtesy of the press photocall that took place on Friday.
We’ve talked more than once about the special Platinum Jubilee tiara exhibition, “Power & Image: Royal & Aristocratic Tiaras.” The show includes more than 40 tiaras, many with royal or aristocratic provenance.
The photocall allowed us to see a preview of the way that the tiaras are displayed. The jewels are in glass cases in a dark room, with special lighting designed to make the gemstones sparkle as mightily as possible.
Several pieces from the exhibition were highlighted and photographed extensively during the press preview. Here, an employee of the auction house shows the Spencer Tiara. Famously worn by Diana, Princess of Wales on her wedding day in 1981, the tiara belongs to her brother, Earl Spencer.
Here’s a look at the way that Queen Victoria’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara is displayed in the exhibition. The tiara was designed by Prince Albert and made in 1845 by Joseph Kitching. The piece still belongs to Victoria’s Fife descendants today, but it’s usually on display at Kensington Palace in London.
Here, a Sotheby’s employee holds the Rosebery Tiara, a diamond jewel made in 1878 for Hannah de Rothschild, wife of the 5th Earl of Rosebery. It remains with their descendants today.
And here’s a tiara from the exhibition that we haven’t discussed here at The Court Jeweller yet: a unique diamond wave tiara, made by Cartier in 1904.
During the press preview, the tiaras were showcased along paintings from the other major Platinum Jubilee exhibition at Sotheby’s. “Power & Image: Royal Portraiture & Iconography” showcases portraits of female monarchs over the last five centuries. One of the highlights is the famous Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, shown here beside an employee holding the Spencer Tiara. The portrait, painted by an unknown artist in 1588, is on loan to the exhibition from the Woburn Abbey Collection.
Here, two auction house employees adjust the Jan van der Vaart portrait of Queen Mary II, painted in the 1690s. I believe this image is on loan from the National Portrait Gallery in London.
And here, employees highlight Sir Godfrey Kneller’s 1708 portrait, “Queen Anne presenting plans of Blenheim to military Merit.” The picture is on loan from the Blenheim Palace collection.
Several portraits of Queen Elizabeth II were also showcased as part of the press preview. They include a portrait of the Queen from Andy Warhol’s famous 1985 Reigning Queens series. She wears the Vladimir Tiara and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee Necklace in the image.
One of the images from Chris Levine’s “Lightness of Being” series is included as well. The Queen wears the Diamond Diadem with pearls in the portrait.