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

Windsor Castle: The Staircase circa 1818

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From the Collection


A watercolour depicting the staircase in the Upper Ward part of Windsor Castle. On ground level are a vaulted ceiling and fluted pillars, leading to a flight of stairs. Three people are standing at the top of the stairs, which lead to the King's Dining Room (?). Prepared for one of the plates in William Henry Pyne's 'History of the Royal Residences' (1816-1819). Engraved by W. I.[J?] Bennett, the print published 1.4.1818.

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 staircase led the visitor from the State Entrance in the northern range of the Quadrangle to the State Apartments on the floor above. Following May's work in the 1670s, there were two principal staircases, one leading to the King's Apartments, and one to the Queen's Apartments. Among the projects undertaken by James Wyatt at Windsor c.1800 was the introduction of the new staircase shown here. The old King's Stairs, opening from the east end of Horn Court to the north-east of the State Entrance, was demolished and the old Queen's Stair immediately to the north of the entrance was replaced by Wyatt's new stair, which occupied the same space and now gave access to both the King's and the Queen's Apartments.

Wyatt's bold architectural scheme, oriented north-south, involved a single flight of stairs, with a landing at mid-way, rising from the Entrance Hall to a landing outside the King's Drawing Room on the floor above. Above the new stair was a high octagonal lantern, nearly 100 feet (30 metres) above floor level, ornamented with Bernasconi's Gothic plasterwork, to match the Gothic vaulting of the Entrance Hall below.

Alternate title: 'The Grand Staircase: Windsor Castle.'

Descriptive Medium: 'Pencil , watercolour and touches of bodycolour'

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© Royal Collection Trust

From the Watercolour World


Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England