Prince Philip’s secret letter to a Polish artist revealed

A recently discovered cache of letters by Prince Philip to Polish-born artist Feliks Topolski reveals that the late Duke of Edinburgh was a modern art lover. 

These letters show a warm, open, and relaxed relationship,” Feliks’ grandson Lucien told The Times. “Respect flows equally between them. Philip was an admirer of his work, going against the vein of traditionalist art that his advisers might have been accustomed to” – he explained. 

The Duke of Edinburgh was an admirer of contemporary artists. He commissioned Topolski to produce murals of the coronation in Buckingham Palace, among other things.

The correspondence between Prince Philip and his friend Feliks dates back to the mid-1960s. In the letters, both men exchange their views on different works of art and their estimated price. 

Although mostly warm, the relationship between them was not exclusively friendly. They even had a two-year dispute due to colliding views regarding the price of one of Topolski’s paintings. “You mentioned a price which I found a little difficult to believe and when I mentioned to people more knowledgable […] about these things, they fainted dead away!” Philip wrote at the time.

The dispute was resolved in a mature way. The painting’s price was estimated by three independent artists and, after some additional haggling, was eventually purchased by Philip.  

Feliks Topolski died in 1989. He is remembered as a talented expressionist painter and draughtsman and a major figure of the Polish diaspora in the UK.  


Image: Bonhams

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen

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