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An artful adventure as Royal Paintbox chronicles paintings by the royal family

Royal Strokes
Royal Strokes
Author's collection

Hosted by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, affectionately known as Prince Charles, and directed by BAFTA award-winning filmmaker Margy Kinmonth, Royal Paintbox is a documentary about the drawings, watercolors and oil paintings created by generations of England’s Royal Family. The film reveals an extraordinary treasure trove of work by Prince Charles’ forebears, many of whom were accomplished amateur artists, and traces the illustrious family’s love of painting through the ages.
Set against the spectacular landscapes of the royal estates at Balmoral Castle, Birkhall, Highgrove House, Windsor Castle, Frogmore House and Osborne House, the program offers insights into the works by members of the Royal Family through the centuries. Royal Paintbox also presents the prince’s own watercolors and a colorful palette of intimate family memory and observation.
“We walk away and shuffle off our mortal coil, but these things live on. That’s what is so riveting, I think, about looking at other members of my family in the past,” says Prince Charles. “It’s this feeling that you know there they were, you can sense them sitting doing the painting and everything else and then that stays behind. It’s still you; it’s a part of you that stays there when the rest has gone.”
In the documentary, Prince Charles takes the viewer on a journey into his family archives to reveal works of art by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, Mary Queen of Scots, King George III, Prince Louis of Battenberg, of whom it is said he could have been a professional artist, as well as Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII, Princess Louise, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the Dukes of Sussex and of Cumberland–and a lino cut of a circus horse, engraved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a child.
Prince Charles has also painted throughout his adult life, during holidays and when his official diary allows. Often painting in the open air, particularly on HM The Queen’s Balmoral Estate in Scotland, he takes great pleasure in the challenges of observing, and then recording, involved in this particularly British art form. Royal Paintbox captures a rarely seen glimpse of his artistic process.
“When I first came across Queen Victoria’s painting kit, as a filmmaker and watercolor painter myself, I was amazed to find out that 150 years ago she was an artist,” says Margy Kinmonth. “Her great-great-great grandson, HRH The Prince of Wales, also enjoys painting as a pastime, and for the first time on film he agreed to tell me the extraordinary story of the tradition of creating art in his family through the ages. In my search, I discovered dozens of talented artists, revealing an amazing treasure trove of creativity by royal hands.”
Also featured in Royal Paintbox are interviews with Countess Mountbatten of Burma; professional artist Sarah Armstrong-Jones, daughter of Princess Margaret, speaking in her first interview on film; Royal Academy of Arts chief executive and secretary Charles Saumarez Smith; biographers Lady Antonia Fraser, Jehanne Wake and Jane Ridley; royal tour artists Susannah Fiennes and Warwick Fuller; historian Marina Warner; and Jane Roberts, librarian at Royal Collection Trust.|
An artful adventure indeed!

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