An exhibition of mostly previously unseen life portraits and enamel miniatures of Europe’s royal families commissioned by the Moscow Kremlin Museums in the 1990s, with an estimated value of 10 million pounds ($16 million), will be held in London in April.
The Royal Portraits exhibition will take place at the Ritz Hotel in the British capital on April 19 - May 1, exhibition organizer VZ Gallery reported.
Portraits of HM Queen Elizabeth II, HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, HRH the Princess Royal, HRH Princess Michael of Kent, HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, HM King Harald V of Norway, HM Queen Sonja of Norway, and nine enamel miniatures based on the portraits will be on display.
Visitors will also be able to see 11 life drawings and more than 50 photographs of the sittings, which took place in London, Oslo and The Hague in 1992-1999. The sittings were the result of Russian artist Alexei Maximov's "fascination" with the European monarchy.
“This is an unprecedented discovery for the market - the photographs of private sessions, the original drawings of the Royals never seen for 20 years, and, of course, the enamel miniatures,” said a spokesman for VZ Gallery as quoted by the MMD Newswire.
“There is a story behind every piece. The Queen Mother, for instance, was so touched by the portrait of her that she even signed and dated it after the session finished, showed Alexei Maximov around Clarence House and spontaneously threw a reception party in his honor at her residency,” he said.
The spokesman added that the Queen Mother suggested “drinking vodka with the Russian artist.”
Maximov was quoted by the MMD Newswire as saying: “My idea was to depict the reigning monarchs of the 'Old World' and closest members of their families through the medium of enamel miniature using techniques known from the 17th century, giving a portrait a striking historical dimension.”
“My idea now is to carry on creating these portraits,” he said.