Though best known as a sportsman, throughout his life Prince Philip also possessed an appreciation for the arts, both as a patron and a hobbyist artist.
The prince, privately enjoyed oil painting, creating numerous portraits and landscapes over the decades, some of which were kept in his private collection, others of which are held in the Royal Collection Trust.
The prince had a long friendship with artist, Edward Seago, whom he also received painting lessons from. In 1956, Prince Philip invited Seago on a tour of the Antarctic and a number of the artist’s paintings from the journey were subsequently displayed at Balmoral Castle in Scotland (the Queen Mother was also an avid collector of Seago’s works)
During the trip, the pair painted each other as they worked at their easels. Philip is said to have become fed up with his own efforts and preferred to watch Seago painting instead!
Born in Norwich, Edward Seago lived most of his life in East Anglia, settling in 1945 at Ludham on the Norfolk Broads. It is in the enduring relationship Seago forged with his native landscape that his most prominent inspiration was derived; in the rolling terrain and wooded slopes of Norfolk and Suffolk’s wild expanses.
Seago, a post-impressionist, was famous for landscapes as diverse as Norfolk’s beaches and the Antarctic. When his paintings went on sale, queues formed outside his Bond Street dealer and buyers were rationed to one work each.
‘A Barnyard in Norfolk’ by Edward Brian Seago
In terms of commissions, he was the most successful artist of his day. He became a war artist in Italy during the Second World War and spent two years with General Alexander. George VI asked for a portrait, and which made him very fashionable.
The Queen Mother bought so many that eventually the artist, who died in 1974, gave her two a year – on her birthday and at Christmas. Prince Philip invited him on a tour of the Antarctic in 1956, and his subsequent paintings, considered to be among his best, hang at Balmoral.
We are delighted to present a significant selection of seven views of Seago’s paintings, travelling from Norfolk to France and Italy atmospherically rendered in both oil and watercolour