The queen in Netflix’s hit series “Bridgerton” is none other than Charlotte’s Charlotte

Charlotte’s Charlotte is part of The Mint Museum’s permanent collection and is currently in the traveling exhibition Under Construction: Collage from The Mint Museum, which is about to open at the Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga, TN. It will then travel to the Knoxville Museum of Art later in the year before returning to Charlotte.

“Using the history of art as my playground, I toy with paintings from the past, and I connect them to the present,” says Ken Aptekar. His Charlotte’s Charlotte references Mint Museum Randolph’s 1772 coronation portrait of Queen Charlotte by Allan Ramsay. By appropriating Ramsay’s imagery and adding his own original text on sandblasted panels that hover above the surface of repainted details excerpted from the original painting, Aptekar initiates a dialogue between his work, Ramsay’s painting, and the viewer.

Prior to creating Charlotte’s CharlotteAptekar met with diverse groups within the community to gain a better understanding of what Queen Charlotte means to Charlotteans. Words and phrases such as BLACK WHITE OTHER and IMMIGRANT reflect the distinct voices of the Charlotte community and function as a means of eliciting a variety of interpretations. With these texts overlaying the paintings, Aptekar intentionally addresses the issue of Queen Charlotte’s race (she was of North African, Portuguese, and German descent) and invites us to compare the implications of ethnic identity at the time of Ramsay’s portrait, and the multiplicity of meanings that this may hold for contemporary viewers. 

Allan Ramsay (Scottish, 1713–84). Queen Charlotte, circa 1762, oil on canvas. Gift of Mr. Frank Ryan Harty. 1970.56. Collection of The Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC
Above: Ken Aptekar (American, born in 1950). “Charlotte’s Charlotte,” 2009, oil on canvas on panel with glass. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Charles W. Beam Endowment Fund and James G. and Mary Lou Babb, Gray Ellison and Selena Beaudry, David and Jane Conlan, Bill and Sally Cooper, Fairfax and Hillary Cooper, Walter and Meredith Dolhare, Mike and Libba Gaither, Mike F. and Laura Babb Grace, Beverly and Jim Hance, Mary Ann Grace and Mary Beth Grace Hollett, John and Stacy Sumner Jesso, Thomas E. Kanes and Susan Valentine Kanes, Stephen and Laura Philipson, Bill and Pat Williamson, Ginger Kemp, Bob and Peggy Culbertson, Norris W. and Kathryn Preyer, Claudia W. Belk, Janet and Lowell Nelson and exchange funds from the gifts of various donors. 2010.24a-f. © Ken Aptekar, All Rights Reserved, 2009