Hull turns back time to welcome King Charles I…400 years late

More than four centuries after turning away King Charles I and sparking the English Civil War, Hull is set to roll out the red carpet and finally allow the monarch into the city.

Rebellious Hull’s refusal to grant entry to the King in 1642 is said by many historians to have been the starting point for the bloody civil war that ravaged England, ending with the execution of the King in 1649.

Hull held one of the largest arsenals outside London, but the King’s bid to claim it was denied – an unprecedented act in an age when monarchs were regarded as divine.

While the monument at Beverley Gate, the place where the King was blocked, has recently been restored as a lasting legacy to the city’s historic refusal, 2018 will see Hull finally welcome King Charles with open arms…at least in spirit.

A painting of the King, who reigned between 1625 and 1649, will go on display at the city’s Ferens Art Gallery from April, the first ever masterpiece by Sir Anthony van Dyck to be exhibited in Hull and the latest loan as part of an on-going partnership with the Royal Collection Trust.

The second of five exceptional loans brings a Sir Anthony van Dyck painting to the gallery: ‘Charles I in Three Positions, 1635-1636’. One of the most unusual paintings of Charles, it portrays the King seen from three viewpoints, each with different patterned lace collars and coloured clothing. The unusual format was due to its proposed use as a reference work for the Italian sculptor Bernini to create a marble bust of Charles I.

The painting took a starring role this week when it featured in “Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection” on BBC FOUR as part of the BBC’s season on the Royal Collection.

Fresh from a £4.5million refurbishment, Ferens Art Gallery, one of the finest regional art galleries in the country, secured a number of major masterpieces on loan from the Royal Collection Trust to be displayed between 2017 and 2021, as part of Hull’s UK City of Culture, which actually runs through to 2020 before Coventry takes over in 2021.

And the new exhibition comes hot on the heels of news that 2017 has been one of the most successful years in the gallery’s 90-year history. Since the Ferens reopened in January 2017 following its refurbishment, it has hosted an array of critically acclaimed exhibitions, including the Turner Prize. Attracting record numbers of visitors it has welcomed more than 519,000 people in 2017, with 116,000 alone visiting for the Turner Prize.

‘Charles I in Three Positions’ will be on display at the Gallery from 28th April to 29th July 2018. Ferens Art Gallery is free and open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm and Sunday 11am to 4.30pm.

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Photo-credit: Royal Collection Trust – © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018