Painting the Armada Exhibition

Visitors to London this summer will be able to visit a wonderful exhibition of six huge paintings of the Spanish Armada. The paintings are on display in the Royal Gallery at the Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament) and the exhibition is open until the Autumn, when the paintings will be hung in the Prince’s Chamber.

The paintings are not contemporary but were commissioned to replace the series of 10 tapestries commissioned by Lord Howard of Effingham after the English defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. The tapestries hung in the House of Lords Chamber for over 175 years, but were unfortunately destroyed by the fire of 1834 which destroyed most of the old Palace of Westminster.

According to the Parliament website, the paintings were first commissioned when the new palace was built in the 19th century, but only one was completed by the artist Richard Burchett. The remaining five were painted by artist Anthony Oakshett after the House of Lords Works of Art Committee agree to support the completion of the scheme in 2007. A significant private donation made the completion of the series of paintings possible and the story of the Spanish Armada is now told in these beautiful new paintings which measure 3.6 x 4.3m each.

You can find out more about the paintings and exhibition at the Parliament UK website. It only gives visiting details for July but the paintings are meant to be on display all summer.

3 thoughts on “Painting the Armada Exhibition

  1. I saw these last week when we went on our tour, they are indeed magnificant, I wish the tour had allowed us abit longer to look at them in more detail xx

  2. There is a UK TV documentary somewhere out there showing these in preparation – which, from the point of view of one who has done a bit of painting I must say I found really fascinating. Perhaps it will be updated or shown again! Glad you enjoyed them Gemma!

  3. When my husband and I went to London this summer, we went on a tour at the Parliament. We saw the Armada paintings, but since all the rooms and furnishing were so overwhelming, it was hard to really appreciate those paintings. I agree with Gemma, it was not much time to look at things. To be able to stand in the Great hall of Westminster was just – wow!
    As a non UK citizen we had to buy our tickets from home. But It was an experiance I truly recommend to anyone who has any interest in english history and polity. It was even fascinating to experience the secuity controll, just to get inside. When I got home, I told my pupils about it. They were as fascinated as I.

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