Paintings by King Charles surge in price now he is monarch

King Charles - Foxtrot Productions ITV
King Charles - Foxtrot Productions ITV

A keen artist, the King has long specialised in watercolours, raising more than £2 million for good causes from the sale of his landscapes.

Since becoming monarch, however, he is likely to raise even more after the price of several of his paintings was hiked by 40 per cent and in one case, by 100 per cent.

A series of limited edition framed lithographs by the King are on sale in the Highgrove House shop.

Many had been priced at £2,500 for years but have recently increased to £3,500.

They include watercolours of one of the King’s favourite views in Scotland, Alltnaguibhsaich Lodge, which he did in 2016, a view across the Straits of Corfu and a view of Balmoral from 1991.

A lithograph called The West Side of Highgrove House was previously on sale for £2,500 but now costs £5,000. All proceeds are donated to the Prince’s Foundation.

Price rise 'not due to elevated status'

A charity spokesman insisted that the price rise had nothing to do with the King’s elevated status but was simply down to a change in market rates and increased costs.

"Our lithographs are extremely popular and are priced according to market rates, with the revenue generated from their sale invested in education and training programmes delivered by The Prince's Foundation,” he told The Telegraph.

“Variation in price reflects the rarity of each item, and more recently-produced items may cost more due to the well-documented increase in cost of framing and printing, which we're proud to say takes place in the UK."

King Charles's painting of Glen Callater near Balmoral - PA
King Charles's painting of Glen Callater near Balmoral - PA

The lithographs of Alltnaguibhsaich Lodge, the Straits of Corfu and Balmoral were all priced at £2,500 as recently as last August but at some point after the death of Queen Elizabeth II the following month the prices were increased to £3,500.

The West Side of Highgrove House was still available at the cheaper price last January and appears to have gone out of stock before returning at twice the price.

In October, a print of a watercolour of Balmoral Castle painted by the King - number 18 of 100 - was bought at auction for £5,738, more than eight times its estimate.

A painting of Balmoral Castle by King Charles
A painting of Balmoral Castle by King Charles

Hamish Wilson, curator of Bonhams' Scottish Home sale, said at the time: "This charming print combined the King's passion for painting and his deep affection for Scotland. It acquired special resonance and appeal, of course, because of recent events and I am not surprised there was such keen bidding nor that it exceeded its estimate by so much."

Previous prints had generally sold for between £400 and £600.

King 'genuinely one of Britain's top watercolourists'

Bendor Grosvenor, an art historian, said the increases were “a sign of good progress”.

He added: “I think the King is genuinely one of the top British watercolourists. He has a real gift and has been slightly pooh-poohed by the art culturati because he was the Prince of Wales.”

The King paints whenever his schedule allows and he usually takes his treasured sailcloth and leather painting bag with him on royal tours in the hope he will have time to do so.

King Charles, then the Prince of Wales, painting in Paro, Bhutan, in 1998 - PA
King Charles, then the Prince of Wales, painting in Paro, Bhutan, in 1998 - PA

His interest – fostered by his art master at Gordonstoun school, Robert Waddell – grew in the 1970s and 1980s as he was able to meet leading artists.

He discussed watercolour technique with the late Edward Seago and received further tuition from professionals such as Derek Hill, John Ward and Bryan Organ.

An exhibition at Hampton Court Palace in 1998, held to mark his 50th birthday, displayed 50 of his watercolours, while the National Gallery of Australia’s exhibition in 2018 to celebrate his 70th birthday showed 30 pieces.