Contemporary art in the Queen's House


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Queen's House

The Queen's House is home to a rich collection of contemporary artwork on free display. These artists have responded to contemporary concerns of nationhood, migration, tradition, and life at sea in their own unique and diverse ways.

New for 2020: Faces of a Queen: the Armada Portraits of Elizabeth I

Tania Kovats

Kovats' Sea Mark is composed of panels of glazed ceramic tiles that together suggest a seascape. Her work reflects a preoccupation with the natural world as a site of encounter and transformation. Set in juxtaposition with 17th century blue and white Delfware, Sea Mark suggests the ways in which Kovats uses traditional art historical genres and media in order to raise concerns about humanity's increasingly troubled relationship with our natural suroundings. 

Sea Mark by Tania Kovats
Sea Mark by Tania Kovats © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Courtesy of the artist and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London

Marian Maguire

Maguire is a New Zealand-based artist who draws upon classical mythology to help illuminate and problematize the history of colonialism in the Pacific. Prints from her series The Labours of Herakles are currently on view in the Queen’s House.

Christy Symington

Symington is a member of the Royal Society of Sculptors whose work focuses on representing overlooked or marginalized historical figures. Her sculpture of Olaudah Equiano, an important figure in the abolition movement, is set in dialogue with 18th-century naval portraits to explore notions of heroism, then and now. Visit the artist's homepage

© Christy Symington MRSS/DACS 2018 (Photo: © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London)

Kehinde Wiley

Kehinde Wiley's Ship of Fools makes visible not only the problems that confront contemporary migrants, but also the invisible legacies that informed maritime history and indeed the genre of marine painting.

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Image of Ship of Fools © Kehinde Wiley
Ship of Fools © Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of Kehinde Wiley and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London

Richard Wright

For the first time since 1639, an artist has worked on the ceiling of the Great Hall of the Queen’s House, one of Britain’s most important historic interiors.Turner Prize winner Richard Wright has responded to the geometry and beauty of the Queen’s House with an intricate and unique design populating the nine formerly blank panels of the 12 x 12 metre ceiling. 

Richard Wright's Great Hall fresco
Richard Wright's Great Hall fresco

Find out more about the Great Hall ceiling

Bettina von Zwehl

Bettina von Zwehl is an important contemporary photographer whose practice focuses on portraiture. As part of the Museum’s HLF-funded Armada Portrait Activity Plan, she took portraits of local young women in the style of Tudor portrait miniatures, drawing upon the visual legacy of portraits of Elizabeth I as a young woman.

Portrait miniatures courtesy of Bettina von Zwehl. Commissioned by the National Maritime Museum Greenwich
Portrait miniatures courtesy of Bettina von Zwehl. Commissioned by the National Maritime Museum Greenwich

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