Past Events

Charles I: King and Collector

Call for Papers

  • 23 May to 14 July 2017
  • The Royal Academy of Arts and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art are pleased to announce a two-day multidisciplinary conference to coincide with the exhibition Charles I: King and Collector (Royal Academy of Arts, 27 January – 15 April 2018), organised by the Royal Academy in partnership with the Royal Collection Trust.

Woman in long blue dress with wide brimmed hat with a child in red During his reign, King Charles I (1600-1649) assembled one of the most extraordinary art collections in Europe, including some of the greatest masterpieces from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. In 1623, two years prior to his ascension to the throne, Prince Charles visited Madrid, where the Habsburg collection made a lasting impression on the future King. Intent on reflecting his princely magnificence, he started his own collection, acquiring part of the esteemed collection of the Dukes of Mantua in 1628, and commissioning some of the most important artists of his own day, most notably Anthony van Dyck. The exhibition will reunite many of these works for the first time since the king’s execution in 1649, when the collection was sold by the Commonwealth. It will look at the relationship between artists at court and those in the collection, with particular areas of focus including: artists, agents and associated collectors in the king’s circle; the Madrid visit and Gonzaga acquisition; royal portraits; the role of Queen Henrietta Maria; the Cabinet at Whitehall Palace; the Mortlake tapestries.

On the occasion of this landmark exhibition, this conference seeks to investigate the shape and development of Charles I’s collection. Selected papers will explore the internal and external factors that had a significant impact on collecting habits at the Stuart court, highlighting the latest research from a wide range of disciplines and themes. Possible areas of exploration might include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender: female patronage and Queen Henrietta Maria
  • International networks: competition and collaboration in England and Europe
  • Ephemera: the impermanence of court culture
  • Material culture: architecture and the royal palaces

The event will take place 5-6 April 2018. Day one will be a ticketed conference comprising four sessions (each including two papers) and a keynote. Day two will be hosted by the Paul Mellon Centre, and will involve a symposium at which speakers and a select group of specialists will partake in discussions surrounding certain topics in the exhibition.

How to submit

Please send proposals to Ella Fleming (Events Manager, Paul Mellon Centre) by emailing efleming@paul-mellon-centre.ac.uk by Friday 14 July 2017 including a title, an abstract of no more than 500 words and a short CV. Papers should last no longer than 20 minutes.