© Royal Collection Trust | Licence: All Rights Reserved
© Royal Collection Trust | Licence: All Rights Reserved

Windsor Castle: The King’s Dressing Room c. 1816

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From the Collection


A watercolour depicting the room adjacent to the King's Closet, featuring walls hung with crimson silk and gold beading and many paintings, a window to the left with oval mirrors on either sides, rush matting on floor and a ceiling painting. Prepared for one of the plates in William Henry Pyne's 'History of the Royal Residences' (1816-1819); engraved by W.I. Bennett and the print published 1 October 1816. The original ceiling painting in the King's Dressing Room was executed by Antonio Verrio and depicted Jupiter and Danae. However, this watercolour records the short-lived ceiling painting which replaced the Verrio before itself being removed in the 1830s; this was painted by Matthew Cotes Wyatt (James Wyatt’s son) and the subject was the suckling of the Infant St George. Pyne's 'History of the Royal Residences' was a three-volume publication which encompassed a number of royal residences, including Windsor Castle (vol. 1) and Buckingham House (vol. 2), presenting 100 hand-coloured engravings of exteriors and interiors accompanied by descriptive texts. The 100 watercolours which were engraved for the publication survive in the Royal Library; these watercolours are exactly the size of the image on the printed plates, and may perhaps have been intended as colour guides for the artists responsible for hand-painting the monochrome prints. Catalogue entry adapted from 'George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste' (London, 2004): The King’s Dressing Room overlooks the North Terrace, between the King’s Bedchamber (to the east) and the King’s Closet (to the west). The room benefited from a considerable programme of refurbishment from the late 1790s. John Yenn’s design for four large oval giltwood mirrors - two for the Dressing Room and two for the Closet, shown by Pyne on the window wall in both cases - is in the Royal Collection. Three of these mirrors have also survived. According to instructions on Yenn’s drawing, which is undated, the frames were to be carved by Richard Lawrence, and the mirror plates were to be supplied by Robert Campbell. The furniture includes a fine French bureau-plat, probably dating from the 1740s. The table - which may have been acquired by George III - was used by Queen Victoria when she signed the Royal Assent to the Australian Commonwealth Bill in July 1900 and was subsequently sent by her, as a permanent memento, to Australia; it is now in Parliament House, Canberra. Among the paintings are (over the chimneypiece) Guido Reni’s 'Cleopatra' [RCIN 405338], acquired by Frederick, Prince of Wales, Carracci’s ‘Il Silenzio’ [404762] and a Virgin and Child attributed to Guido Reni, both acquired by George III himself. All these had been transferred to Windsor from Buckingham House shortly before Pyne’s views.
Alternate title: King's Dressing Room, Windsor Castle
Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil, watercolour and bodycolour'

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From the Watercolour World


Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England