12 Jan 2022

King Charles III’s Watercolour Exhibition

The King’s Foundation are showcasing 79 of King Charles III’s watercolours at The Garrison Chapel represents; the largest-ever display of The King’s work and the first full exhibition of his watercolours.

The exhibition contains spaces dedicated to many geographic areas, such as Scottish mountains, including the work “Beinn a’Bhuird across park at Invercauld near Brig O’Dee”, and the East African country of Tanzania, which is understood to be one of The King’s favourite places to paint. A section on France features predominantly scenes from the Provence region.

Rosie Alderton, curating the exhibition for The King’s Foundation, said: "King Charles III has said before that he likes to sit in the actual environment and paint en plein air, and that, for him, taking a photograph doesn’t have the same feel as a painting.  His passion for creating beautiful art is conveyed strongly in this exhibition. We’re very much looking forward to presenting this special collection to the public from November and into the new year.”

The Garrison Chapel

In a display panel for the exhibition, King Charles III writes: “I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying. Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolour and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography. I very quickly discovered how incredibly difficult it is to paint well in such a spontaneous medium, and the feeling of frustration at not being able to achieve on paper the image that your eye has presented you with is intense!

“Looking back now at those first sketches I did, I am appalled by how bad they are. But, nevertheless, the great thing about painting is that you are making your own individual interpretation of whatever view you have chosen. Because it obliges you to sit down and make a careful observation of the selected subject, you discover so much more about it than by just pointing a camera and arriving at a result which is probably almost identical to somebody else’s photograph. As a result, you become increasingly aware of things that may have escaped your attention previously – things like the quality of light and shade, of tone and texture and of the shape of buildings in relation to the landscape. It all requires the most intense concentration and, consequently, is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know. In fact, in my case, I find it transports me into another dimension which, quite literally, refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach…

“I am under no illusion that my sketches represent great art or a burgeoning talent! They represent, more than anything else, my particular form of ‘photograph album’ and, as such, mean a great deal to me.”

View of the South of France by HRH

The exhibition of King Charles III's watercolours opened on Monday 8 November and runs until Sunday 23 January at The Garrison Chapel at Chelsea Barracks in Belgravia, London.


Chelsea Barracks
Belgravia, London SW1W 8BG

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