A recently restored former military chapel is currently hosting an exhibition of watercolours all painted by the Prince of Wales.
An introduction panel explains that the His Royal Highness took up painting as he “found photography less than satisfying”, and wanted something to convey more emotion and texture than photography could achieve. He also realised that painting is rather hard, especially in watercolours, and admits that some of his early works are rather dreadful.
The exhibition contains spaces dedicated to many geographic areas, such as Scottish mountains and the East African country of Tanzania, which is understood to be one of The Prince’s favourite places to paint. A section on France features predominantly scenes from the Provence region.
It’s laid out in a series of rooms, each grouped by geographical region, with just a short note as to where each watercolour was created.
The Prince signs his painting with a simple C and the date — C ’98, which for any other painter could leave future Antiques Roadshow experts wailing as to why the mysterious C never signed his name. In this case though, the paintings are likely to end up in the Royal Collection, the provenance undisputed.
It’s a modest-sized exhibition, probably about 50 paintings all told, and on my visit just a handful of visitors. It’s also worth visiting though for the chance to see inside the restored Garrison Chapel, which has been turned into an exhibition space by the Prince’s Foundation to exhibit elements of its work, with a particular emphasis on traditional arts and heritage craft skills plus a number of special exhibitions and events.
This is the first exhibition it has staged since it was restored.
The exhibition of HRH The Prince of Wales’s Watercolours runs until 14th February 2022 and is free to visit 11am-4pm daily. Entry is either via Chelsea Bridge Road or Ranelagh Grove in Chelsea.
The exhibition will be closed to the public on 25th January and 31st January – 4th February.
Note, photography inside the chapel is not allowed.