One week after the Thanksgiving Service for the life of Prince Philip in March, Queen Letizia of Spain was back in the UK again for the opening of the exhibition “Zurbarán: The twelve tribes of Israel: Jacob and his sons” and the inauguration of the Spanish Gallery of Bishop Auckland at the Auckland Castle in County Durham with Prince Charles of Wales.
The Queen attended the Thanksgiving Service for the life of Prince Philip with her husband King Felipe and many other European Royals at Westminster Abbey.
Queen Letizia was received by Prince Charles outside the castle and from there they were greeted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s representative for County Durham and local authorities. Inside the building, they began the tour of the castle by observing El Greco’s “Christ on the Cross” and were greeted by a group of volunteer leaders from the Auckland Project.
The Auckland castle, a majestic bishop’s palace that was once a residence of the powerful Bishop Clan, stands in the heart of Bishop Auckland town and is the home of the ‘Auckland project’, made up of various historical and cultural landmarks, which aims to attract tourists in order to support the regeneration of the place.
The exhibition “Zurbarán: The twelve tribes of Israel: Jacob and his sons” reflects the baroque spirit of the Spanish Golden Age, with portraits of the biblical patriarch and his descendants, by the 17th-century painter Francisco de Zurbarán. Auckland Castle has been home to Francisco de Zurbarán’s series of Spanish masterpieces Jacob and His Twelve Sons, for over 250 years. They were purchased in the 18th century by Richard Trevor, Prince Bishop of Auckland.
The works are part of a display of life-size portraits depicting the twelve sons who made up the twelve Tribes of Israel and their father, the biblical patriarch Jacob, whose story is told in the Book of Genesis. In the paintings, the characters appear before landscapes reminiscent of places in Flanders, typical of the Baroque style, and the painter characterizes the figures represented with a deep face and precision in all the details.
The Spanish Gallery is the first gallery in the United Kingdom dedicated to the art, history, and culture of Spain. The Gallery is a cultural interest and is an important source of academic study on the pictorial past of the Spanish Golden Age.
Next, Doña Letizia and the Prince of Wales toured the permanent exhibition that covers Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries through paintings by Zurbarán, Diego Velázquez (1599-1660) or Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), as well as other painters. There are works by José de Ribera (1591-1652), with his painting “San Francisco”; Bautista Maíno (1581-1649), with “San Antonio de Padua”, or the “Sorrowful Mother” by Jerónimo Espinosa (1600-1667).
The gallery opens with “Benjamín” by Francisco de Zurbarán (1598-1664), which is part of the thirteen paintings of “Jacob and his 12 children”, of enormous proportions, that Zurbarán painted around 1640 in his Seville workshop. Twelve of them are on display in the Great Hall of Auckland Castle, after Richard Trevor, who was the Bishop of Durham, bought them in the 18th century.
At the end of the tour, Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales unveiled a plaque commemorating the visit together with the painting “The Holy Family” by El Greco, and signed the museum’s guest book, under the painting “Cherubs scattering the flowers”, by Murillo.
Two school children presented Doña Letizia and the Prince of Wales with the special edition of the Spanish Gallery catalog. The visit concluded with the greeting of schoolchildren and representatives of different community organizations and local businesses.
It was the second artistic engagement that Queen Letizia and Prince Charles undertook together. Both Royals have a huge interest in art and culture and they last opened the exhibition “Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light” at the National Gallery in March 2019.
Moving towards Queen Letizia style – Letizia chose a red gorgeous outfit for the UK visit.
Queen Letizia was wearing a red custom-made Carolina Herrera dress. Thanks to Nuria for the id. The mid-length dress features a tailored silhouette with a pleated skirt and full sleeves with black button detailing on the shoulders.
Upon arrival, Letizia was seen wearing a black Carolina Herrera Oversized Wool and Cashmere-Blend Felt Coat.
Letizia teamed up the outfit with her Magrit pumps and
Carolina Herrera Bimba Quilted Clutch.
She finished the look with her Chanel plume earrings and
her Karen Hallam ring.