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Gold at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse
This exhibition is in the past. View our current exhibitions.

Royal Gold

Gold has long been associated with royalty. Many of the most recognisable trappings of monarchy – the crown, throne and regalia – incorporate gold, reinforcing a connection between material and monarch.

George IV’s lavish coronation provided many opportunities for artists to produce an array of gold items, including a tray of solid gold used at the coronation banquet and an opulent Ceremonial book printed in gold. The detailed painting of Queen Victoria’s coronation by C.R. Leslie shows the young monarch enrobed in the cloth of gold Imperial Mantle. Gilded objects and decorations are depicted throughout Westminster Abbey, but arguably the most striking use of gold is in the rays of golden light which serve to isolate and elevate Queen Victoria.

The universal appeal of gold to royalty can be seen in the leaves from the Padshahnama and the tiger’s head from India, as well as the pre-Inca crown from Ecuador. The latter has a striking design, reflecting the high esteem in which the metal was held in the Andes.

The survival of so many gold items with royal associations demonstrates how gold has always been treasured by the monarchy, and how its symbolic supremacy has endured to this day.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.