Leonardo Da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection 30 July – 9 October 2016

Nottingham Castle is to display ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection in a new exhibition.  The works have been selected to show the extraordinary scope of the artist’s interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, mapmaking and anatomy, as well as his use of different media – pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint. Through drawing, Leonardo attempted to record and understand the world around him.  He maintained that an image transmitted knowledge more accurately and concisely than any words.  Nonetheless, many of his drawings are extensively annotated, including the sheet of Studies for casting the equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza, c.1492–4, and the double-sided page from a notebook of anatomical studies, The heart compared to a seed and The vessels of the liver, spleen and kidneys, c.1508.  Leonardo was left-handed and throughout his life he wrote in perfect mirror-image, from right to left.  Rather than an attempt to keep his investigations secret, as has been claimed, this was probably a childhood trick that he never abandoned. Take a look at our exciting programme of accompanying events, talks, workshops and exhibitions.

To give every visitor the best experience of the exhibition entry to the gallery containing the drawings will be limited to 40 at any one time. Please be advised that we anticipate a short waiting time to enter this space during busy periods to control visitor flow.

School visits will take place between 10 and 2.30 (September only), and some visitors may prefer to visit after these times.  Photographs are permitted without flash only.


Events & Talks

Cats, lions, and a dragon


intro-blog-picTen students from the University of Nottingham’s History of Art Department are working alongside the team from Nottingham Castle. This blog is all about their work.

Royal Collection Trust

A deluge

Your Visit

To give every visitor the best possible experience of the Leonardo Da Vinci : Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection exhibition, entry to the gallery with the Leonardo drawings will be limited to 40 people at any one time.  Please be advised that we anticipate a short waiting time during busy periods to control visitor flow. Pre-booked school groups (self-led and facilitated) of up to 30 students, will take place between 10am and 2.30pm (September weekdays only).  Groups will be allocated strict time slots of up to 40 minutes in the gallery with the Leonardo drawings. Please be advised that allocated time slots cannot be held open and groups arriving late may have to queue for the next available entry. Photographs without flash are permitted.

Images courtesy Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015


Also Showing Alongside Leonardo: A Selection of Drawings from the Nottingham City Museums & Galleries Collection

Da Vinci-5344

Installation shot, 2016, image by John Hartley

“… it should not hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas.”

                                                            Leonardo da Vinci

Using Leonardo’s sketches and notebooks as a springboard for exploring the importance of drawing throughout the history of art, the drawings in this gallery have been selected from the collection of Nottingham City Museums and Galleries.

These works on paper offer half-finished, momentary field sketches, preparatory designs, studies, or visual observations and musings from a wide range of artists, including:  Richard Parks Bonington, Paul Sandby, Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Augustus John, Harold Knight, Henry Dawson, Marion Adnams and Graham Sutherland.

Some of these drawings were made to be exhibited but many of them were never intended for public display. They all provide a glimpse of artists’ techniques and thought processes through time: a window to the world of the studio, life class or sketching tour.