‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,’ laments the king in Henry IV, Part 2. Many of Shakespeare’s plays, a number of which were performed by the King’s Men within the royal court, are filled with such intimate reflections on what it means to be a head of state. It’s unsurprising, then, that successive monarchs in Britain have been drawn to his work in forming their own ideas about the royal family and its responsibilities. This online display, courtesy of King’s College London and the Royal Collection Trust (launching 15 July), presents the findings of a three-year research project into artefacts in the Royal Collection with connections to the bard, focusing on the period from the accession of George I in 1714 until 1945. Highlights include a watercolour by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, painted for her mother as a birthday present and depicting a scene from a production of Richard II in 1857, as well as 3D visualisations of performances at Windsor Castle in the 19th and 20th centuries. Find out more from KCL’s website – and for more on Shakespearean relics in the Royal Collection, here’s an essay for Apollo by Kirsten Tambling, a research associate on the project.
Preview below | View Apollo’s Art Diary here