Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Queen impresses with art knowledge

The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Sultan Qaboos bin Said take the salute during a visit to Al-Alam Palace in Muscat, Oman
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh meet dignitaries during a visit to Al-Alam Palace in Muscat, Oman
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh listen to the national anthem during a visit to Al-Alam Palace in Muscat, Oman

The Queen tried her hand at art curating when she led the Sultan of Oman around a viewing of priceless British paintings.

With some of the world's most famous pictures in the Royal Collection, the monarch is believed to have a deep knowledge of art to draw on.

The sovereign revealed her interest in horse paintings when she was shown six pictures in Sultan Qaboos' Al-Alam Palace in the Omani capital of Muscat that have been loaned by the Tate.

The artworks represent British landscape painting over the past 250 years from some of the country's most famous artists including Gainsborough, Constable, Turner, Millais and Singer Sargent.

But it was the picture of a group of horses by George Stubbs, best known for his anatomically correct studies of the animals, which made the biggest impression on the monarch.

Sir Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate, showed the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and the Sultan around the pictures, which will soon go on public display until the new year.

The Stubbs picture showed mares and foals against a landscape backdrop and as the Queen turned to the Sultan, she said: "You know they always painted their front legs out and their back legs out." She went on to explain how the painter was the first to create anatomically correct horses.

Sir Nicholas said after the viewing: "The Queen, because of her familiarity with the Royal Collection and Stubbs, was explaining he was the first to paint the horses in a naturalistic way.

"To show the Omanis a group of British landscapes painted over the last 250 years is a very important way of promoting the relationship between our two countries," he added.

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