Treasures from the Royal Collection

One hundred treasures from the Royal Collection are on display in a Jubilee exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (until November 4, 0131-556 5100; This small but dazzling show casts the spotlight on five centuries of collecting through objects acquired or presented to British monarchs over five centuries, from Le Sueur’s bust of Charles I to a self-portrait etching presented to The Queen by Lucian Freud in 1996.

There are cabinets of gems, Mughal paraphenalia and paintings by Rembrandt, Claude and Rubens acquired by George IV, the most active of royal collectors. The group of chalk and pencil drawings by Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Bernini reminds us of the outstanding calibre of objects in the Royal Collection, the pre-Inca golden crown presented to Queen Victoria in 1862 its breadth of scope.

The pleasure of the exhibition, like that of an exquisite Kunstkammer, is principally one of visual delight, with Old Masters beside Fabergé objects. Some objects illuminate more personal tastes, most endearingly Prince Albert’s Highlander Candelabra made by Minton for Balmoral and Landseer’s portrait of his favourite greyhound Eos.