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Cumberland Art Gallery highlights



Canaletto’s paintings are suffused with Venetian sunlight, minute touches of the paintbrush picking out reflections in the water, and façades of buildings are bathed in light in sharp contrast to walls of dark shadows. In the painting of the Carità, an adjacent building casts its silhouette onto the church, providing a foil to the sunlit figures in the foreground.

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

Venice: The Grand Canal from the Carità towards the Bacino c.1727-28 by Canaletto
The Calling of Saints Peter and Andrew c. 1602-4, Oil on canvas, MICHELANGELO MERISI DA CARAVAGGIO (MILAN 1571-PORT' ERCOLE 1610)



'Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!' We see the moment just after Christ has spoken, as the impact of his words shows on the incredulous faces of the disciples. Caravaggio has created drama out of a single second. The brothers Peter and Andrew are poised, about to answer Christ’s invitation – their lives will change forever.

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023.



Artists often turn to the rich mythologies of the ancient world for dramatic stories. This theatrical painting depicts the suicide of Queen Dido of Carthage, abandoned by her lover Aeneas. Reynolds attempts to capture her expression of complete despair, as she writhes in anguish. We are meant to feel the Queen’s pain, and react to the artwork as we would to an actor’s performance on a stage.

Recorded on display in the Cumberland Art Gallery in May 2017

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

Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and later Princess of Orange, c1637, by Sir Anthony van Dyck



As punishment for spying on her while bathing, the goddess Diana throws water in the face of Actaeon, transforming him into a stag who is destined to be killed by his own dogs. Gainsborough blended the figures into the landscape to evoke the mystery and power of nature, an approach that reaches back to Titian and forward to Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse.

Portrait of Rembrandt's mother, painted by the artist. The figure wears an exotic deep purple hood with a fur mantle over a dark dress culminating in an embroidered white chemise. The tone of the painting is sombre, but it is offset by the parchment pallor of the skin, the colour of the chemise and the yellow embroidery of the hood.

Rembrandt van Rijn

An Old Woman, called ‘The Artist’s Mother’, c1627-9

Rembrandt’s painting is a timeless and moving record of old age. The hooded eyes, thinning lips and the loose and creased folds of skin are all exaggerated and highlighted, designed to evoke our pity and perhaps a sense of our own mortality. Such paintings, virtuoso exercises of imagination, also brilliantly displayed Rembrandt’s talent, and helped establish his reputation.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2020

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


  • Things to see

Cumberland Art Gallery

Discover masterpieces by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, van Dyck, and more at the Cumberland Art Gallery at Hampton Court Palace.

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  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
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Privy Garden

Explore the Privy Garden, now restored to its former glory and complete with its intricate Tijou Screen.

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  • Hampton Court Palace
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  • Things to see

William III's apartments

Enjoy the beautiful State Apartments and private rooms of William III and Mary II at Hampton Court Palace as part of your visit.

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  • Hampton Court Palace
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Art at Hillsborough Castle

Hillsborough Castle has become a place in which to see amazing art

William Kent

Royal artist, architect and designer to Georgian kings

The story of Hampton Court Palace

Home of Henry VIII and the Tudor dynasty