Last weekend marked the official start of this year’s ‘Big Theme’ – Royal Blood began with a Civil War event at Basing House, the site which saw a Royalist garrison finally succumb to Cromwell and the New Model Army in October, 1645, during the English Civil War.
The ‘Flagship’ exhibition for Royal Blood (Births, Battles, Beheadings) will be mounted at the Sainsbury Gallery in the Willis Museum, Basingstoke, Winchester Discovery Centre and the Gosport Gallery, between September 2016 and March 2017. In the meantime local exhibitions will appear for six week stints in Andover, Fareham, Aldershot, Christchurch, Alton and Eastleigh, as well as ‘City Space’ in Winchester.
The Flagship exhibition looks in detail at the story from the 1st century Iron Age kings of the Atrebates, the first rulers for whom we have names, to the demise of the hapless Charles I, whose head was chopped off by order of the Army, in January 1649. In between times there are numerous episodes to relate, with Winchester and Hampshire at the heart of many of them.
Royal births, marriages and deaths – including unexplained deaths – all took place with the bounds of Hampshire, and squabbles, battles and peace treaties pepper the centuries. When the various factions were not squaring up to one another, they were preparing for military action further afield – notably in France!
The local exhibitions will bring the story into more recent times. Royal Blood – Heads and Tales, uses a coin portrait ‘timeline’ to weave its way through the centuries. It wasn’t until Henry VII (1485 – 1509) that a reasonable likeness of the monarch appeared on these ubiquitous objects (apart from the Roman emperors, of course) but coinage has been around in these islands since the 1st century BC and is the perfect medium to celebrate those in whose name it was issued.
We will pick up some of the stories as the year progresses
Series by Dave Allen, Sarah Gould, Lesley Johnson, Jane King, Peter Stone.