Prince Charles exhibits dozens of his watercolors, saying painting ‘refreshes the soul’

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

At the largest exhibition of his watercolors to date, Prince Charles, an avid painter, described the restorative benefits of the art, saying it “transports me to another dimension”.

The heir to the British throne went on to say that painting is “one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know”, adding that his hobby “refreshes parts of the soul that other activities don’t. can’t reach”.

The watercolors are on display at the Garrison Chapel at Chelsea Barracks in London. Credit: courtesy of Richard Ivey

The comments appear on an exhibition board during a new show bringing together 79 of the Prince’s landscape paintings. On display in London until mid-February, the works depict scenes from the French countryside, the Scottish Highlands and Tanzania, which is “one of the prince’s favorite places to paint”, according to a press release from his educational charity, The Prince’s Foundation. .

“I started painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying,” he reportedly said. “Quite simply, I felt an irresistible urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolor and convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture that is impossible to achieve through photography.”

"View in the south of France," by HRH the Prince of Wales.

“View in the South of France”, by HRH the Prince of Wales. Credit: courtesy of Richard Ivey

Like his great-great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria I, the prince is an “avid watercolourist” who “paints whenever his schedule permits”, according to his official site. He regularly depicts the estates of the Royal Family, including Balmoral Castle and the House of Sandringham, and has also produced watercolors in Turkey, Nepal and the Swiss Alps.

In the text of the exhibition, the prince admitted he was “appalled by the seriousness” of his early works.

“I have no illusions that my sketches represent great art or budding talent!” he added. “They represent, more than anything else, my particular form of ‘photo album’ and as such mean a lot to me.”

During a royal tour of Japan, Prince Charles sits down to paint a watercolor in the garden of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

During a royal tour of Japan, Prince Charles sits down to paint a watercolor in the garden of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Credit: Tim Graham/Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty Images

Although the prince does not sell his watercolours, lithographs of his works are used to raise money for his charity fund. In 2016, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that he had sold for around £2 million ($2.7 million) at a store in his residence at Highgrove House.

In 1994 Britain’s Royal Mail featured Charles’ landscape paintings on a series of postage stamps marking 25 years since the ceremony which officially recognized him as the Prince of Wales. The National Gallery of Australia also exhibited several of his works in 2018 on the occasion of his 70th anniversary. Two decades earlier, for his 50th birthday, some fifty of his watercolors were exhibited at Hampton Court Palace, the residence of his ancestor Henry VIII.

“Huna Mill, John O’Groats”, by HRH the Prince of Wales. Credit: courtesy of Richard Ivey

In a press release, the curator of the new London exhibit, Rosie Alderton, said the prince “enjoys sitting in the real environment and painting ‘en plein air'”, adding: “His passion for creating of fine arts is strongly transmitted in this exhibition.”

The watercolors are on display at the Garrison Chapel at Chelsea Barracks, a converted military barracks in London’s upmarket Belgravia. A tapestry based on one of the prince’s paintings, ‘Abandoned Cottage on the Isle of Stroma’, is also on display. It took weaver Ben Hymers eight months to complete.

Top image: HRH Prince Charles painting a watercolor in Klosters, Switzerland.

Julia P. Cluff