Exhibition in London 1999 – 2000

After some nine months in preparation, the first Painting & Patronage exhibition opened in London in June 2000 in the presence of HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.

Inspired by the spectacular landscape of the Saudi Arabian province of Asir, London hosted a truly unique art exhibition that brought together the two royal princes who had for a long time shared a mutual passion for supporting the arts as well as being amateur painters in their own right.

The Painting & Patronage exhibition, held at the historic Banqueting House, under the shadow of Big Ben was such a success that it was heralded by some as one of the largest cultural collaboration between the two countries and dynasties.

The exhibition included twenty-six oil paintings by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal depicting the mountainous landscapes and people of the south-western province of Asir. Hung alongside this insight into the hidden magic of Asir and Saudi Arabia, were 30 watercolours by HRH The Prince of Wales. These included views of Scotland, Turkey, Greece, France and two watercolours of the mountains of Asir, which The Prince of Wales painted during his second official visit to the province in November 1999.

A selection of paintings of Saudi Arabia by British royal tour artist, James Hart Dyke were also on display.

Visitors to the exhibition also had a rare opportunity to experience a traditional Saudi Arabian village, re-created by the Asir-based Dhafir bin Hamsan Centre in the vaulted basement – known as the Undercroft – beneath The Banqueting House. Originally designed in 1623 as a drinking den where King James I could entertain his friends, the Undercroft was transformed and filled with the sights and sounds of Saudi Arabia, including soft furnishings, woven floor coverings, mannequins in traditional dress and the sweet aroma of herbs, spices and burning incense from Asir province.

HM Queen Elizabeth II honoured Painting & Patronage by visiting the exhibition accompanied by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal.  Several thousand visitors visited the exhibition.

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