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James Stephanoff (1789-1874)

The King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle c.1817

Pencil and watercolour with touches of bodycolour | 19.0 x 25.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 922107

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  • A watercolour view of the interior of the King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle, prepared for one of the plates in William Henry Pyne's 'History of the Royal Residences' (1816-1819). Engraved by T. Sutherland, the print was published on 1 December 1817.

    This watercolour depicts the original ceiling in the King's Drawing Room, which was painted by Antonio Verrio and illustrated Charles II driving through the sky in a triumphal car (reflecting the restoration of monarchy). The ceiling is now destroyed, but the original Grinling Gibbons cornice also depicted in this watercolour does survive. The picture hang in the room at this time is also recorded: on the east wall is Rubens, 'The Raising of the Siege of Nordlingen' (RCIN 400100), Spagnoletto, 'Portrait of Johannes Duns Scotus' (404967) and Luca Giordano, 'The Wise Men's Offering' (404993); on the south wall is shown Rubens, 'The Holy Family' (407674), Pietro da Cortona, 'Augustus consulting a Sibyl' (405461); on the west wall is seen Guido Reni, 'Venus attired by the Graces' and 'Perseus and Andromeda' (both gifted by William IV to the National Gallery in 1836) and Godfrey Kneller, 'The Chinese Convert' (405666).

    The entry in John Evelyn's diary for 3 September 1685 records his great pleasure at a visit to St George's Hall, Windsor Castle. It had been completed only the previous year. This, and the adjoining space, the King's Chapel, were designed to be the most impressive and important spaces in the new State Apartments recast by Hugh May. From 1675 to 1684, Verrio painted 12 rooms and three staircases in the King's State Apartment, and six rooms and the Great Stairs in the Queen's State Apartment. The iconographic programme, common to decorative shemes commissioned for most continental European baroque palaces, uncompromisingly celebrated the quasi-divine status of the prince or monarch. At Windsor, Verrio went further and placed Charles II himself as the great saviour.

    Text adapted from Charles II: Art & Power, London, 2017
    Provenance

    Probably acquired by George IV

  • Medium and techniques

    Pencil and watercolour with touches of bodycolour

    Measurements

    19.0 x 25.0 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Other number(s)