In “The Crown,” a television biopic of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, Prince Philip comes off as flighty and even unfaithful. But an Artnet News story published on the day of his death painted a different picture, beginning with this headline: “The Late Prince Philip Was Devoted Patron of the Arts and a Hobby Painter.”

What’s wrong with this picture?

As lavish and detailed as the four-season-going-on-five portrait of the royal family is in “The Crown,” Prince Philip’s interest in art never came up – unless you count the scenes showing him fussing over the family’s Christmas decorations.

Or a scene intimating that Anthony Blunt, who was the queen’s art curator, was a Soviet spy.

Alluding to love life outside palace walls without even a nod to his love of art is the stuff of gossip columns, not a television production that earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe. There’s no excuse for ignoring Prince Philip’s picture-making given that the 1969 TV documentary “Royal Family” made this clear with scenes of him at his easel and with displays of his works. Artnet News referenced the documentary by observing how the prince enjoyed oil painting “creating numerous portraits and landscapes over the decades.” Numerous? Over decades? How could “The Crown” have missed all that?

About his painting

And the prince wasn’t half bad at painting for one that Artnet News tagged a “hobby painter.” Consider his picture The Queen at Breakfast made in 1965. You can see his view of his wife intent on reading a newspaper over her morning meal in the Windsor Castle dining room. Rather than detached and impersonal, as amateur pictures usually appear, Prince Philip’s very choice of subject – his wife at breakfast – has a quality of intimacy.

This painting is featured in the 2010 book “The Royal Portrait: Image and Impact.” How could “The Crown” have missed all that?

Besides the image of Queen Elizabeth II, you also see an extraordinarily detailed setting of the Windsor Castle dining room for someone not known to have painted at all - including picture-laden walls, side tables, and fireplace, complete with items on the mantel.

Perspective in the room is a little off, but not by much. And the queen is a bit smallish, out of proportion to the room; but none of that detracts from an otherwise loving picture in which nothing looks forced or studied. His brushwork looks effortless. In fact, there’s a light and easy air about the scene, achieved not only by the prince’s choice of delicate pastel shades but clearly also by regular practice at his easel.

Same old story

Yahoo News tells the same old tale of Prince Philip seen in “The Crown.” Peter Morgan, the series creator, is quoted saying that the Prince had to surrender his naval career to be the queen’s consort. “And that led to all sorts of tensions, both within himself and within the marriage.” Not a word about his painting, which probably helped ease the tension.

“The Crown” earned a slew of awards, but the skewed portrayal of Prince Philip spoils the picture.

Follow the page TV Shows
Follow
Don't miss our page on Facebook!