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A set of silver-gilt plates; the reeded rim cast with fruiting vines and scallop shells. The plate is engraved with the Royal coat of arms, with supporters, mantling and coronet.

George IV's spectacular silver-gilt dining service and buffet

Charles Wild (1781-1835)

Carlton House: The Gothic Dining Room, 1817 1817

Watercolour with touches of bodycolour and gum arabic over etched outlines | 19.5 x 26.3 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 922189

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George IV was the most theatrical of monarchs and everything he ordered for the Grand Service was designed for display. At his private residence, Carlton House, shelves and wall brackets were built into the Gothic Dining Room to hold his magnificent silver collection. His chefs also gave tours of the plate room on the lower floor where the pieces were stored.

In this watercolour, dated 1817, the table in the Gothic Dining Room is shown thickly laid with plate, including a massive parade of candelabra. The buffet is displayed in tiers at the far end of the room, flanked by pedestals, which may have been designed to hold yet more candelabra. The sparkling effect of the display would have been greatly enhanced by reflections from large expanses of inset mirror glass.