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Watercolours and Drawings in the Collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother


The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse

  • Daily (Wednesday, 9 Mar 2005 - Tuesday, 22 Nov 2005)

The art collection formed by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother reflects her warm friendships with artists and her very personal response to a quality in works of art that she called ‘the effect of magic’.  Queen Elizabeth was an enthusiastic supporter of contemporary British artists of the early to mid-20th century and had a particular appreciation of the younger generation working outside the artistic establishment. This first exhibition of 73 watercolours and drawings from her collection has been selected to show the range of Queen Elizabeth’s taste, embracing artists as diverse as Thomas Gainsborough and John Bratby. 

From the first portrait of Queen Elizabeth as Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon aged seven to watercolours marking the celebration of her 100th birthday, the exhibition offers a record of  both  private  and  official  life.  Among  the  portraits  are  evocative  charcoal drawings by John Singer Sargent presented to Lady Elizabeth and the Duke of York (later King George VI) on their marriage in 1923.  Other works depict events of personal  and  national  significance,  such  as  the  Coronation  in  1937,  Victory  Night in  1945  and  the  Funeral  Procession  of  King  George  VI  in  1952.   Queen  Elizabeth also acquired drawings with royal connections, such as the three sketches by Sir David Wilkie of Queen  Victoria  as  a  girl  of  twelve,  preparatory  studies  for  an  oil  painting  also  in her collection.

Exhibition Highlights

Map & directions

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX
By car

There is a public car park adjacent to the Palace at Broad Pavement. Please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website for more details.

Accessible parking spaces are located on Horse Wynd, just outside the Palace, on a first-come first-serve basis.

By train

The nearest train station is Edinburgh Waverley. The Queen's Gallery is a 15 minute walk from the station.  

Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

By tram

The nearest tram stop is York Place. The Queen’s Gallery is a 20 minute walk from the stop.

Visit Edinburgh Trams for times and fares.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 6 and 35 stop near the Gallery.  Open-top tour buses stop nearby.

Limited free coach parking is available adjacent to the Palace. Alternative pay-and-display coach parking is available on nearby Regent Road.

By bike

A free-to-use public bicycle rack is located opposite the Scottish Parliament.