On 3 April 2020, Royal Museums Greenwich, in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery, London, will open Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits at the National Maritime Museum, a major art exhibition exploring the changing nature of the British monarchy and royal portraiture over 500 years. 

Tudors to Windsors will feature over 150 works, including famous paintings, miniatures, sculpture, photographs, medals and stamps spanning five royal dynasties: Tudors, Stuarts, Georgians, Victorians and Windsors. Visitors will come face-to-face with the kings, queens, heirs, consorts and favourites who have shaped British royal history and portraits by some of the most important artists to have worked in Britain, often under the direct patronage of the Royal Family, from Sir Peter Lely and Sir Godfrey Kneller to Cecil Beaton and Annie Leibovitz.


Many of the artworks are drawn from the outstanding collection of the National Portrait Gallery. The loans will be on display alongside works from private lenders and pieces from the National Maritime Museum’s own renowned collection. 


Beginning with the famous and infamous kings and queens of the Tudor dynasty, a period that coincides with the foundations of portrait painting in England, the exhibition will explore the development of the royal portrait as statements of wealth, power, continuity and tradition and how this was impacted by both the personalities of individual monarchs and wider historical change.


Highlights on display include the earliest known portrait of Henry VII – the oldest artwork in the exhibition – painted in 1505 by an unknown artist, as well as the famous ‘Ditchley Portrait’ of Elizabeth I by Flemish artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. Regal portraits of Charles II and his mistresses will feature alongside early 19th century domestic photographs of Queen Victoria and her family. A selection of paintings and photographs of Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol and Annie Leibovitz will be displayed, alongside portraits of other members of the current Royal Family.   


The exhibition takes place in the historic setting of Greenwich, one of London’s key royal sites as the location of the principal Tudor palace, the birthplace of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, the home of the Royal Armouries and the location of the Queen’s House, commissioned by James I’s consort Anne of Denmark, and the Royal Observatory founded by Charles II.


Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits is on at the National Maritime Museum from 3 April 2020 – 31 August 2020. For more information, or to buy tickets, visit www.rmg.co.uk/TudorsWindsors


Exhibition information for visitors:


Venue:                        National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Dates:                         3 April 2020 – 31 August 2020

Opening times:          every day, 10.00 – 17.00

Visitor enquiries:      020 8858 4422 / www.rmg.co.uk/TudorsWindsors

Admission:                 Adult from £9.00 | Child from £4.50 | Under 25/Student from £5.85

Please see www.rmg.co.uk/TudorsWindsors for further details

Website:                     www.rmg.co.uk/TudorsWindsors

Twitter:                      @RMGreenwich #TudorsToWindsors

Instagram:                 @royalmuseumsgreenwich #TudorsToWindsors

Facebook:                  /royalmuseumsgreenwich #TudorsToWindsors





Notes to editors


  1. The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The National Maritime Museum is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen’s House and clipper ship Cutty Sark. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research. The mission of Royal Museums Greenwich is to enrich people’s understanding of the sea, the exploration of space, and Britain's role in world history. For more information visit www.rmg.co.uk.


  1. National Portrait Gallery, London Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world.


With over 1000 portraits on display across three floors, from Elizabeth I to David Beckham, the Gallery has something for everyone. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video. As well as the permanent displays, the Gallery has a diverse and ever-changing programme of exhibitions and events that promote an understanding and appreciation of portraiture in all forms.

Tudors to Windsors is part of the National Portrait Gallery’s ambitious programme of activities to share its unique Collection of portraits with the nation, while the Gallery temporarily closes from 29 June 2020 until spring 2023 to allow essential works to take place on Inspiring People, the biggest ever development since the building in St Martin’s Place opened in 1896. Designed by Jamie Fobert Architects and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the transformational project comprises a comprehensive re-display of the Collection from the Tudors to now, combined with a significant refurbishment of the building, the creation of a new public spaces, a more welcoming visitor entrance and public forecourt, and a new state of the art Learning Centre.




  1. The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue which introduces each of the five dynasties, alongside special features on topics such as Royalty and Celebrity, Female Power and Royal Weddings, and an essay by Sir David Cannadine. Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, hardback, £29.95.


  1. In collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery and Woburn Abbey, Royal Museums Greenwich will host the free exhibition Faces of a Queen (13 February – 31 August 2020) showing the three surviving versions of the iconic Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I on public display together at the Queen’s House in Greenwich for the first time ever.


  1. In February 2020, The Queen’s House, Greenwich, part of Royal Museums Greenwich will host the free exhibition Woburn Treasures (13 February 2020 – 17 January 2021), a major collaboration between Woburn Abbey and the Queen’s House. The collaboration will see a selection of artworks from the private collection of The Duke and Duchess of Bedford by artists such as Van Dyck, Reynolds, Poussin and Canaletto on display alongside significant pieces from the collection of Royal Museums Greenwich. 




For further information or images, please contact:

Royal Museums Greenwich Press Office

Tel: 020 8312 6790 or Email press@rmg.co.uk