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The Bowes Museum lends king's lace collar to Royal Collection Trust exhibition
Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Charles I, 1635-6. Royal Collection Trust © 2013, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

COUNTY DURHAM.- A stunning lace collar, reputed to have belonged to King Charles I, has been loaned by The Bowes Museum to Royal Collection Trust as part of a prestigious exhibition opening at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace next month.

The man’s needle lace cloak band, a type of wide collar, is one of the highlights of The Blackborne Lace Collection at The Bowes Museum. And now it’s to be displayed alongside the famous triple portrait of Charles I, painted by Anthony van Dyck, in In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor & Stuart Fashion from 10 May until 6 October. The exhibition brings together paintings, drawings and prints from the Royal Collection, as well as rare surviving examples of clothing and accessories, to explore the style of the Tudor and Stuart rich and powerful.

This world class collection of handmade lace belonged to the London lace dealers, A. Blackborne and Company. Father and son Anthony and Arthur Blackborne built up a thriving business from 1850, which was in the forefront of the growing trade in antique lace.

This lace collar was said by the latter to have belonged to Charles I, and is of the very highest quality and of the same date and quality to those King Charles is wearing in the triple portrait by Van Dyck. The design of the needle lace is most similar to that worn by the king on the right.

“This superb piece is usually on show in our Fashion & Textile Gallery, but the opportunity to show it next to the famous royal portrait could not be missed,” said Joanna Hashagen, Keeper of Fashion & Textiles at The Bowes Museum. “Arthur Blackborne would have been immensely proud, and no doubt excited by the thought of it going on display alongside the portrait in which it may well appear.”

By coincidence, another item in The Blackborne Collection is a shirt worn by George IV, monogrammed and dated 1826; he was the king who bought the triple portrait for the Royal Collection in 1822. A further coincidence is that The Bowes Museum recently discovered that it has an authentic Van Dyck portrait of its own, thanks to a recent investigation shown on BBC’s Culture Show, which featured widely in the national and regional press.

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