Cumberland Art Gallery highlights

Duccio di Buoninsegna

Triptych: Crucifixion and other Scenes, c1302-8

Christ is at the centre, but this work is about his mother, the Virgin Mary, who appears four times. Duccio skilfully painted her emotions so that the viewer could identify with her sorrows, acceptance and trusting faith. This altarpiece was for private use. Its hinged sides originally closed like doors to protect and conceal the painting. When opened for prayer by candlelight, the gold leaf glowed and shimmered, evoking the riches of heaven.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

Sir Anthony van Dyck

Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and later Princess of Orange, c1637

Court artists worked directly for the royal family. Van Dyck’s portrait of the 6-year-old daughter of Charles I is a statement of dynastic wealth – the expensive lace, pearls and gold damask curtain – but also a delightful image of a little girl with her hands clasped uncertainly in front of her silver apron, attempting a mature pose beyond her years.

Accepted by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax and allocated to Historic Royal Palaces, 2008.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Self-Portrait in a Flat Cap, c1642

Here is the self-confident image of the greatest artist of 17th-century Netherlands, staring straight at us. Rembrandt painted himself over 40 times, essays of artistic self-expression that trace his life and career over 50 years. This portrait shows the artist at the age of 36 as a successful man-of-the-world, as yet untroubled by the difficulties of his later life.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020.

A painting by Rembrandt Van Rijn 1642 that hands in the Cumberland Art Gallery in Hampton Court Palace. 

A self portrait of Rembrandt Van Rijn.

Jan Brueghel the Elder

A Flemish Fair, 1600

Brueghel’s colourful depiction of a street party is also a celebration of the happiness of a society at peace. The Dutch Republic had declared independence from Spanish rule in 1581, heralding a ‘Golden Age’ of Dutch art and culture. This painting is a statement of national pride. It shows how a well-ordered society should be, but it is also an incident-packed description of town life, full of delightful detail.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020.

A painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder, 1600 that hangs in Cumberland Art Gallery, Hampton Court Palace. A festival with dancing peasants and other figures on a country road.
Frank Holl: No Tidings From the Sea, 1870 Oil on canvas Royal Collection RCIN405161

Frank Holl

No Tidings from the Sea, 1870

Victorian artists drew on a long legacy of narrative art. This painfully emotional scene captures a family’s desolation after the death of a fisherman. Holl’s muted colours and the quiet grief of each of the figures is relieved only by the mystical light around the bright white shirt of the young girl, a sign of hope and an echo of the religious symbolism of earlier artworks.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018.