One of the best times of the year to visit Windsor Castle is between 27 September 2014 and 29 March 2015, when the spectacular private apartments created for George IV are open. These Semi-State Rooms are among the most richly decorated interiors in the Castle and are used by The Queen for official entertaining.
George IV had a well-developed love of fine objects and a taste for the theatrical. With his architect, Sir Jeffry Wyatville, he completely remodelled the Castle’s exterior during the 1820s, giving it the romantic and picturesque appearance seen today. He also decided to create a new suite of private rooms on the sunnier east and south sides of the Castle. This was George IV’s last and greatest commission, and one of the most lavish and costly interior decoration schemes ever carried out in England.
Always over budget, the project was only just completed at the time of King’s death in 1830. Among the many designers and craftsmen employed on the scheme was the 15-year-old AWN Pugin, who worked for the principal furniture suppliers, Morel and Seddon. The Semi-State Rooms also contain some of the finest surviving 18th-century English and French works of art from Carlton House, George IV’s former London residence.
The Semi-State Rooms were severely damaged by the fire of 1992, although, by good fortune, their contents had been moved elsewhere at the time. They were completely restored to their 19th-century appearance using the original designs supplied to George IV.