Treasures of the Royal Collection

An online course from Monmouthshire Museums

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The Museums’ popular art history courses that usually run at the Drill Hall Chepstow and Abergavenny Museum have been unable to take place, but our lecturer Eleanor Bird is taking the plunge into the virtual world for her new series of lectures.

The meetings will take place on Zoom. You don’t need to sign up to Zoom – Eleanor will send a link out each week along with course notes.

There will be 8 one-hour lectures in this series, and actually there will be two opportunities for you to join in. One at Chepstow’s usual time of Monday afternoon at 2pm, the other on Wednesday morning at 10.30am (when Abergavenny classes met)
The course will begin on Monday 26th October and run until 14th December (or Wed 28 October – Wed 16 December)
The course fee will be just £40
All bookings need to be made online, by midnight on Thursday 22nd October, please go to:
If you have any problems making the online booking please contact Kevin Ford who manages the site, his e-mail is or phone him on 01633 644842 and he will help you through it (any working day 9-5 except Monday 12 October). 
(Please note that we are unable to take bookings at the Museums)
Anyone anywhere in the world can now join us – we hope that you might give it a try!
Explore one of Europe’s most extraordinary collections of art
Unlike many grand European art collections, the Royal Collection has survived for us to enjoy today. This despite most of its works being sold-off by Cromwell during the Civil War – and then forcibly reacquired - and despite centuries of criticism of its ostentation and cost. In an hour-long Zoom talk each week, popular Monmouthshire lecturer Eleanor Bird will discuss some of the key works in this amazing collection, setting them in their art historical context.
As well as examining many beautiful paintings, the course will explore the taste, talent, power and passion behind their acquisition. In particular, we look at Charles I’s dangerous obsession for collecting which began when he crossed Europe in disguise to meet a possible Spanish bride, and the passion for gift-giving between Victoria and Albert, who catalogued and expanded the Collection to include both mediaeval altarpieces and the latest photography.
Works covered will span the centuries from the early Renaissance to the 19th century masters, including Breughel, Holbein, Leonardo, Titian, Van Dyck, Tintoretto, Turner and Landseer. Along the way, the lectures will touch on everything from solid silver furniture to Roman cameos to the glittering jewels which are the now-controversial spoils of Empire.