April 12, 2024


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The Artist formerly known as Prince

The Artist formerly known as Prince

There have been a few posts on social media using this quip.

However it’s worth remembering that King Charles III is an artist who is a keen painter in watercolours and who exhibits his paintings on a regular basis. 

He is also a Patron of drawing, traditional art and crafts in different locations both in the UK and abroad.

I remember when Prince Philip died I made reference in Prince Philip (1921-2021) – the painter to his interest in painting.  I guess this interest must have influenced his son. I’m hoping it passes on to more of his progeny.

Below you can find out more about his activities – when Prince of Wales in terms of: 

  • watercolour painter
  • timeline of exhibitions
  • patron of art

Watercolour Painter

As a Prince, he painted from childhood. 

However he did not become dedicated to plein air painting of landscapes and nature in watercolour until the mid 1980s. After which he produced paintings of places he visited and generally produced about 30 paintings each year.

He has, up until now, painted under the name A.G Carrick. The A. G. relates to two of his names ‘Arthur George’ and the Carrick references one of his titles ‘Earl of Carrick’ – one of the Scottish titles held by the Heir Apparent.  I think I’m correct in saying that he has typically signed his watercolours AG. 

However he’s no longer the Earl of Carrick as that title has now passed to his son! 

I wonder if being King might mean we no longer see his watercolours even if he continues to paint them.

Timeline of Exhibitions

This is a timeline of some of the solo exhibitions of his work

“I took up painting entirely because I found photography less than satisfying. Quite simply, I experienced an overwhelming urge to express what I saw through the medium of watercolour and to convey that almost ‘inner’ sense of texture which is impossible to achieve via photography. I very quickly discovered how incredibly difficult it is to paint well in such a spontaneous medium, and the feeling of frustration at not being able to achieve on paper the image that your eye has presented you with is intense!

“Looking back now at those first sketches I did, I am appalled by how bad they are. But, nevertheless, the great thing about painting is that you are making your own individual interpretation of whatever view you have chosen. Because it obliges you to sit down and make a careful observation of the selected subject, you discover so much more about it than by just pointing a camera and arriving at a result which is probably almost identical to somebody else’s photograph. As a result, you become increasingly aware of things that may have escaped your attention previously – things like the quality of light and shade, of tone and texture and of the shape of buildings in relation to the landscape. It all requires the most intense concentration and, consequently, is one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know. In fact, in my case, I find it transports me into another dimension which, quite literally, refreshes parts of the soul which other activities can’t reach…

I am under no illusion that my sketches represent great art or a burgeoning talent! They represent for me, more than anything else, my particular form of ‘photograph album’ and, as such, mean a great deal to me “

I’m sure many of us will recognise these sentiments. I know it’s very much the way I feel about my own sketches and sketchbooks. They take me back to a place better than any photograph can.

Patron of Arts

I personally think he ought to be much better known for his patronage of art.

I well remember the exhibition Prince and Patron at Buckingham Palace in 2018 to mark his 70th birthday later that year and his abiding interest in the arts and particularly the visual arts.- which I reviewed in Review: Prince & Patron Exhibition at Buckingham Palace. It was a stunning exhibition and demonstrated his wide ranging interests in every aspect of the visual arts – and patronage of some.

The Prince’s Foundation has also been responsible for the creation of:

He’s also been very keen on the preservation of traditional arts and crafts skills and architecture. This includes:

  • a heritage preservation programme 
  • the development of Florilegia – a collection of botanical paintings of plants – having sponsored the development of three -(two volumes of the Highgrove Florilegium and the Transylvania Florilegium)  

I’ve seen it twice in recent times. Once on the large footstool in front of the fireplace in the Drawing Room at Clarence House. Again, the the Prince and Patron exhibition (Summer 2018) at Buckingham Palace to mark the Prince of Wales’s 70th Birthday.

see my posts about

King Charles is a Patron of the New English Art Club and has regularly exhibited at their Annual Exhibition. There are typically two of his watercolours at the top of the stairs as you descend into the Annual Exhibition. I’ll be interested to see whether they appear in this year’s exhibition. They never appear in the Online Exhibition.

I don’t think many people realise quite how much a supporter of the arts he is.