There will be a rare opportunity to see drawings by one of the world’s greatest artists as the exhibition Leonardo Da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection opens at Nottingham Castle and Art Gallery on Saturday 30 July. The show will run until 9 October 2016. The gallery is open daily from 10am – 5pm.

Blackberry Leonardo

Nottingham is one of four venues across the UK and Ireland chosen to host this touring exhibition, selected to show the extraordinary scope of the work of one of the greatest masters of the Renaissance.

The ten drawings have been chosen from the incomparable holdings of prints and drawings from the Royal Collection, which are housed at Windsor Castle, giving visitors to Nottingham Castle chance to engage at first hand with the one of the greatest minds of all time.

Leonardo attempted to record and understand the world around him through drawing. The exhibition shows the incredible range of his interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, mapmaking and anatomy. It also demonstrates his mastery of different drawing materials.

To help us understand Leonardo and the legacy he continues to have upon the wider world today, a supplementary display about Leonardo’s life and work will be shown in the adjacent gallery. This has been written by Dr. Gabriele Neher, and supported by students from the History of Art department at the University of Nottingham.

Using Leonardo’s sketches and notebooks as a springboard for exploring the importance of drawing throughout the history of art, there is also an exhibition of drawings that have been selected from the Castle’s own collection, featuring works from artists such as Richard Parks Bonington, Paul Sandby, Frank Auerbach, Stanley Spencer, David Bomberg, Augustus John, Harold Knight, Henry Dawson, Marion Adnams and Graham Sutherland.

An exciting programme of events, talks and drawing activities for all ages – including a feline life drawing workshop at the Kitty Cafe! – will accompany the exhibition right through until October. Gallery tours begin on 30 July when exhibition curator Martin Clayton will take 20 minute tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Booking is essential for these tours. The tours will discuss the works and the reasons they were chosen for the exhibition.

A range of talks and lectures will also take place that cover not only the artist and his work but more diverse topics such as lute music of the time, Leonardo’s drawings in the context of hydraulics, and his many inventions.

More information on the programme can be found at for details and how to book.

Illuminate, Nottingham Museums’ Young Arts Collective, will be taking over the Project Lab at Nottingham Castle to create an experimental space inspired by Leonardo. Taking the drawings as their lead, they have devised fun activities for visitors of all ages to explore Leonardo’s techniques and ideas. Leonardo’s Workshop will also be the location for many of the talks and events in this programme.

To celebrate the exhibition coming to the city, New York-based British ‘doodler’ (and former Nottingham resident) Jon Burgerman has thought about how Leonardo’s doodles might look if he was influenced by our contemporary surroundings, and has created a special artwork exclusively for Nottingham Castle’s café tables.  As visitors sit to enjoy a hot or cold drink, light meal or ice cream they are presented with Burgerman’s unique illustrative style and a humorous twist on some classical Leonardo works.

Councillor Dave Trimble – Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Nottingham City Council said:  “We are extremely proud to be one of four venues across the UK and Ireland chosen to host this exhibition. We look forward to sharing these works with a wide range of visitors from Nottingham and also with a range of people from right across the country and hope they will accept our invitation to take part in the many activities and events themed around the exhibition that our talented Museums and Galleries teams have worked on with partners to plan for them.”

Dr Gabriele Neher, from The University of Nottingham’s History of Art department, said: “We are delighted to have been asked to be involved with this unique and exciting opportunity to help promote the Leonardo exhibition at Nottingham Castle. It is a privilege to be asked to populate a supplementary display alongside the exhibition. Through our own display, our aim was to take the visitors on a chronological journey of Leonardo’s life – culminating in the exhibition. We have used a series of images and words to make a context for the Leonardo drawings. We hope that it will really add to a visitor’s experience. We are especially proud of our selfie station where we ask visitors to pose as the Mona Lisa and to post a selfie!”

Jonathan Marsden, Director, Royal Collection Trust, said: “The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection are among the greatest artistic treasures of this country.  Through this touring exhibition, we aim to bring these extraordinary works of art within easy reach of people across Great Britain and Ireland.”

Talks and events are free where stated and normal Castle entry fees apply.  Booking is essential for our talks programme to avoid disappointment, as numbers are strictly limited.  Those wanting to visit the exhibition again, or wanting to attend several events can take advantage of the new Nottingham Castle £7 annual visitor pass and return as many times they wish for a year.

A fully illustrated catalogue published by Royal Collection Trust will accompany this exhibition, and is available to purchase from the Castle’s shop for £5.


For more information please contact or call: 0115 876 4443

Notes to editors:

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.

Royal Collection Trust, a department of the Royal Household, is responsible for the care of the Royal Collection and manages the public opening of the official residences of The Queen.  Income generated from admissions and from associated commercial activities contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational programmes. Royal Collection Trust’s work is undertaken without public funding of any kind.

The Royal Collection is among the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact.  It comprises almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and is spread among some 15 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public.  The Royal Collection is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation, and is not owned by The Queen as a private individual.

Explore the Royal Collection
Explore the Royal Collection