Prince Charles often takes a painter on his royal tours to ‘go beyond the limitations of photography’, it has emerged.
London-based Diarmuid Kelley, 47, who was commissioned by the Prince of Wales to paint the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012 and soon after, accompanied the couple on a royal visit to Mexico and Colombia, said the artists ‘do all the things Charles would like to do’.
Speaking to the New York Post, the 47-year-old British artist said: ‘Charles always takes a painter on these trips, because he’s a patron of the arts.
‘He’ll give the artist a driver, and they can go anywhere they want and do all the things Charles would like to do, like paint landscapes. [The royals] work hard on that trip.’
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall speak to artist Warwick Fuller during their tour of Australia in 2012 as he accompanies them on their royal visit
It is well documented that the prince is a keen artist, with Charles, 71, developing his love of painting in the 1970s and 80s, inspired by Robert Waddel, who had been his art master at Gordonstoun in Scotland.
And it looks like only his preferred method of painting is good enough to capture the places he visits during his royal tours, because he employs different artists to travel alongside him.
It is thought that the Prince first started inviting creatives to accompany him on official tours overseas and record their impressions in the 1980s and continues to do so at his own expense.
‘As an engaged Patron of the Arts and a keen amateur watercolourist himself, His Royal Highness likes to create a record of a tour that goes beyond the limitations of photography,’ the Prince of Wales’ website states.
‘When he travels abroad, The Prince of Wales chooses a tour artist to join the tour party at his request and his own expense.’
The Prince of Wales with his royal artist on tour Tim Scott Bolton during a walk around Old Town on March 31, 2017, in Bucharest, Romania
Warwick, pictured painting as the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall watch, said: ‘It was a whirlwind tour moving at a relentless pace, with military precision, planning and timing’
Along with Diarmuid, British artists such as Tim Scott Bolton and James Hart Dyke, as well as Australian-based Warwick Fuller have accompanied the prince on tour.
Warwick, who was invited to travel around Australia with the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall for their visit in 2012, recalled his experience for the royal’s website.
He wrote: ‘It was a whirlwind tour moving at a relentless pace, with military precision, planning and timing. I was able to paint at locations planned ahead of time and fortunately, mostly found good subject material.
The artist added: ‘It has been a policy of Prince Charles to take an artist on tour as he is a watercolourist himself and understands the difference between the cold hard facts of a photograph and an interpretation through the eyes of an artist.’
James Hart Dyke has been invited by Charles to be the official artist on four royal tours; East Asia (1998), Middle East (1999), Africa (2007) and to the Gulf States (2008).
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during their visit to Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the Bay of Islands, on the fourth day of the royal visit to New Zealand. The couple don’t have an artist accompanying them on this tour
He told Google Arts and Culture: ‘HRH is always interested to know what you’re doing and there is usually a little bit of time set aside for the artist to show him his/her work. I have had many discussions about painting and drawing with him.
James added: ‘A royal tour presents a very difficult environment for an artist to work in. It is very challenging and far removed from the quiet of a studio space.
‘One has to keep up with a royal tour and know exactly where you have to be at every moment. It is an overwhelming experience and it can take a day or so to settle into the pace of a royal tour.’
Paintings from these tours may become part of The Prince’s collection, ultimately entering the Royal Collection.
When painting himself, Charles focuses on landscapes and nature scenes and has previously displayed his work – with any money generated going to the The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation.
The prince has also founded an arts school to nurture the act of drawing from observation.
The Prince’s Drawing School was founded by His Royal Highness and artist Catherine Goodman in 2000, and it is now one of the few institutions that offers specific and sustained tuition to people wishing to learn how to draw.
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