It's a British Invasion! No - it is not bands like the Beatles...it is the British Royalty! The British Royalty has made a special visit to Houston, Texas. Well, their portraits have. The Museum of Fine Arts Houston has partnered with the National Portrait Gallery in London for an unprecedented special exhibit of royal portraits, sculptures, and photographs spanning from the 1500's to present day.
Almost all of these pieces have never left London before, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is the only venue in the U.S. to host this historic exhibit. If you have a thing for British Royalty or British history, and you live on this side of the pond...you're going to want to see this. Trust me. It is awesome!
My husband and I recently visited the museum for a date night - it was probably one of the best date ideas he has ever come up with. If you know me at all, you're going to know - this full blooded Romanian, patriotic American, and proud Texan loves all things British.
As we walked into the exhibit and saw this larger than life piece of history from the 1500's... we both knew it was going to be a really cool night.
One thing that we both really enjoyed about this exhibit was the audio tour. Each person was given a hand held device that they could scan at the portrait and listen to learn more about each piece. The audio tour went beyond just information about the painting. It brought the paintings to life by bringing the individuals to life. We were able to learn interesting or quirky bits of information about the lives of these royals or the motivation behind the specific pose. Some pieces themselves had an intriguing history of their own - like being missing and mistaken for a tattered rolled up carpet, only to be unrolled and a national treasure was rediscovered.
My husband (who is not an avid history lover like me) kept excitedly coming up to me saying "oh you need to come check this one out - this one is really cool! It has an interesting story!". Which brings me to my main point: the Royal Portrait exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston is an excellent example of the way history should be taught. History is the story of people's lives - it should elicit excitement, intrigue, awe, and even laughter. This exhibit does just that. Visitors get the opportunity to see portraits of people like King Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, Mary Queen of Scots, King George III, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry and much more. If you're bored, you're doing it wrong.
At the end, they have a small area where you can shop for a few things from the official royal collection. Among the available options was fine bone china commissioned exclusively by Buckingham Palace. It was made by hand in England using the same methods that have been used for the past 250 years and finished with 22 carat gold. It is very beautiful!
I highly suggest visiting while it still on display!
So what are you waiting for? While you're at it, strike a pose along side your favorite. It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
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