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Friday, 17 May, 2002, 18:54 GMT 19:54 UK
Royal art treasures unveiled
The Queen's Gallery, London
The exhibition is being held at the Queen's Gallery
The cream of the Queen's collection of art and royal artefacts was unveiled on Friday, before going on public show in Buckingham Palace's gallery.

The Queen will visit the exhibition, Royal Treasures, on Tuesday, when she opens the newly-expanded Queen's Gallery.

Lucian Freud's portrait of The Queen
Lucian Freud's portrait of The Queen stirred controversy
The exhibition features paintings by old masters as well as jewellery, furniture, sculptures and ceramics.

The most important works from the 500,000 objects in palaces across the UK have been chosen for the exhibition, which is billed as one of the centrepieces of the Jubilee celebrations.

It features 450 pieces that have been acquired by the Royal Family over the last 500 years.

Sketches by Da Vinci as well as works by Rubens, Vermeer, Rembrandt and Monet are among the masterpieces on show.

Lucian Freud's recent controversial portrait of the Queen is among the more recent acquisitions.

The exhibition runs until January 2003
The exhibition runs until January 2003
The crown worn by the Queen on stamps and coins - the Diamond Diadem - is included, as are jewels, swords and ornaments from around the world.

The show also includes some more unorthodox objects - including two Chinese pagodas, George IV's bath cabinet and miniature sculptures of animals by Carl Faberge.

The 20m extension to the Queen's Gallery is the most significant addition to Buckingham Palace for 150 years.

Philip's idea

It has two new major exhibition rooms, a new entrance, an education room, a lecture theatre and an "e-gallery".

The Queen's Gallery was first opened in 1962 after Prince Philip suggested using it as a public exhibition space following the bombing of the original building in World War II.

Members of the media were given a preview of Royal Treasures on Friday, 17 May, and the gallery will open to the public the day after the Queen's visit.

"It will be a great highlight of Her Majesty's Jubilee year," said Sir Hugh Roberts, the collection's director.

The BBC's Rosie Millard
"The new Queen's Gallery is four times larger than its predecessor"
See also:

24 Dec 01 | Arts
Royal portrait: Your views
14 Feb 02 | Arts
Hidden da Vincis start UK tour
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