Holbein to Hockney: Drawings from the Royal Collection 

Exhibition now closed 23 Apr – 24 Jul 2005
Free entry

Holbein to Hockney

Since 1547, British kings and queens have bought or commissioned some 40,000 drawings and watercolours for the Royal Collection, forming one of the world’s greatest collections of drawings. Holbein to Hockney offers a unique introduction to. the collection and a rare showing of the riches of art housed in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.

The exhibition presents a selection of seventy-six works, ranging from quick sketches to finished presentation sheets. They include almost every type of drawing practised in European art over the last 500 years and represent every important group within the Royal Collection.

Drawing, in the form of studies for paintings and exercises to hone the skills, emerged as central to the creative processes of European artists during the fifteenth century. But only a tiny fraction of the drawings produced since that time have survived to the present day. Often their survival has depended on collectors (including other artists) continuing to value them for the light that they cast on an artist’s creativity.

Holbein to Hockney highlights for visitors the allure of creative immediacy found in the art of drawing – the spontaneity of a sketch, the trace of an artist’s hand. They can see examples of this from masters such as Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Durer, Poussin, Bernini, Domenichino, Canaletto, and Hogarth. Through the exhibition’s thematic sections they can explore connections between works of art executed often centuries apart.

Holbein to Hockney offers an outstanding opportunity not only to encounter some extraordinary art but also to engage with the creative processes of some of the world’s great artists.

This exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of