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Gifted: from the Royal Academy to The Queen

Explore prints and drawings by contemporary artists the Royal Collection

An etching of a symmetrical geometric pattern largely composed of dark and light rhomboids. Artist's proof. Signed, lower right.

This print shows a design that was commissioned by Lord Palumbo for a roof terrace at the Arts Council Headquarters, Great Pe
Terrace ©

Among the treasures of the Royal Collection is the wealth of prints, drawings and watercolours stored in the Print Room of the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. This collection of works on paper is famed for its holdings of historic and old master drawings, particularly from the Renaissance and baroque periods.

It is perhaps therefore surprising to learn that the graphic art collection also includes drawings by important twentieth-century artists, acquired for instance by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and by Queen Mary. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation and subsequent Jubilee celebrations have also been occasions for important gifts from institutions and individuals alike. Foremost among these has been the Royal Academy of Arts, of which Her Majesty is Patron.

A self-portrait of David Hockney; full face, wearing glasses; signed, lower right. David Hockney was appointed to the Order of Merit in 2012 and four months later executed this iPad drawing (in a unique print) for the Order of Merit portrait series i

Self-Portrait, 6 April 2012 ©

On the occasion of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the Academicians presented a collection of more than 100 works on paper, representing their respective fields of painting, sculpture, architecture and printmaking. The variety of media used in the creation of many of these works is remarkable; acrylics, screen prints, collages, monotypes, inkjet prints and an iPad drawing now share the space occupied by the historic collection of drawings in the Print Room at Windsor Castle.

Included in the gift are several works by sculptors such as Phillip King, Cornelia Parker and Anish Kapoor. While the works do not relate directly to finished sculptures, these prints and drawings represent intriguing connections to the artists’ three-dimensional oeuvres.

All the works presented by the Royal Academy were exhibited in the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace in 2013. This selection is representative of the overall visual impact of the 2012 gift. In many cases these works challenge expectations of what a drawing can be, providing a fascinating contrast to the carefully crafted figurative works which typically constitute the historic drawings collection at Windsor Castle.

Related exhibition

For the Diamond Jubilee, the Royal Academy of Arts presented over 100 works to The Queen

Gillian Ayres (1930-2018)

Festive I

Basil Beattie (b. 1935)

Janus Series

Frank Bowling (b. 1936)

Revisiting 'Night Journey'

Maurice Cockrill (1935-2013)


Peter Cook (b. 1936)

Comfo-Veg Room

Stephen Farthing (b. 1950)

Study for the 5th Miracle Painting

Nigel Hall (b. 1943)

Drawing 1591

John Hoyland (1934-2011)

Spirit Side

Tess Jaray (b. 1937)


Phillip King (b. 1934)

Stack Watch

Cornelia Parker (b. 1956)

Spitting Sugar