As part of the celebrations for the city’s status as the UK’s City of Culture, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall conducted a visit of Hull earlier this week where crowds of people braved the wet and chilly February weather to welcome them. Many had been waiting for nearly three hours to do so.
During their stay in the city, the royal couple undertook a tour of Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery, which had just enjoyed a £5.2 million refurbishment. Closed for fifteen months during the process, the Art Gallery reopened on 13 January to great fanfare. 500 people arrived to visit in less than two-thirds of an hour. At the time of writing, the Gallery has since received 500,000 visitors.
The Gallery is also to receive the honour of hosting the Turner Prize during the year-long festival. Among other things, the refurbishment of the gallery saw that installation of new lighting and climate control systems, necessary to ensure that the works of art held within the facility can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.
The Duke and Duchess were shown a set of rare 14th-century paintings by Pietro Lorenzetti, a Sienese painter who helped give rise to Italian Renaissance art. Called Christ Between Saint Paul and St Peter was purchased by the gallery in 2013 for £1.6 million.
However, it seems that the Duchess of Cornwall was particularly taken by a much more recent piece.
While being shown a collection of works created by local artists, the Duchess liked one so much that she was reported to have asked whether or not she would be able to buy the piece. Unfortunately for her, the piece in question was one of the many loaned to the Gallery for an open exhibition, and the artist in question requested that it not be sold while on display. The piece and artist in question has currently not been identified.
Not to leave the Gallery empty handed, it seemed, the Duchess instead managed to procure an alternative painting from the Gallery.
The Hull City Council were delighted in either case. “We are thrilled The Duchess of Cornwall has identified a piece of artwork that she would like to buy and is supporting artists during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture,” they later stated.
The Duke and Duchess took separate routes during their tour and reconvened to sign the guestbook before leaving. As he wrote his name, Prince Charles lightheartedly asked what was the date, claiming he could never remember it. The Prince of Wales then left to continue his tour at Holy Trinity Church, while the Duchess of Cornwall proceeded to Emmaus Hull and East Riding.