The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 57 From London To Windsor

State Apartments in Windsor Castle 2

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The Verrio ceiling of the PRESENCE CHAMBER shows Catherine of Braganza attended by the Virtues. On the walls are portraits by Mignard (Duchess of Orleans), Kneller, and Lilly. The GUARD ROOM is decorated with arms of the Peninsular and Waterloo periods and with armour of different dates. In the centre is shown the armour (by Jacob) worn by the King's Champion at the coronation of George IV (originally belonging to Sir Christopher Hatton, Chancellor to Queen Elizabeth). In the cases are a silver shield, inlaid with gold, presented by Francis I. to Henry VIII. (long ascribed to Benvenuto Cellini but now recognized as a French work of the 16th century); the swords of James I., Charles I., John Hampden, and the Duke of Marlborough; the bullet that killed Lord Nelson; and other relics. The busts include the Duke of Wellington (by Chantrey) and the Duke of Marlborough (after Roubiliac). Over these hang silken bannerets, by the annual renewal of which (on August 2nd and June 18th, the anniversaries of Blenheim, 1704, and Waterloo, 1815) the domains of Blenheim and Stratfield Saye are heldied The royal protraits are by Van Dyck, Lely, etc. Other objects of interest include a chair made of an elm that grew on the battlefield of Waterloo, and a letter written by Wellington on the day after the battle. The noble ST. GEORGE'S HALL, 200 feet long and 34 feet wide, in which the festivities of the Order of the Garter are held, contains the banners of the 26 original knights. On the ceiling are the coats-of-arms of the knights since 1350. The two blank shields bore the arms of the Dukes of Monmouth and Ormonde, degraded for rebellion. The full-length portraits of English sovereigns from James I. to George IV. are by Van Dyck, Lely, Kneller, Seeman, Garnsborough, and Lawrence. The grand organ has a second keyboard in the Private Chapel. The GRAND RECEPTION ROOM has splendid Gobelins tapestry (Jason and Medea) and a huge malachite vase presented by Czar Nicholas I. of Russia. The THRONE ROOM, upholstered with garter-blue velvet, is the chapter-room of the Order of the Garter. The portraits of George I. and George II. are by Kneller, George III. after Gainsborough, George IV. by Lawrence, William IV. by Shee, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by Winterhalter. In the ANTE-THRONE ROOM are landscapes by Zuccarelli, the best of which is No. 32 (Isaac and Rebecca). The large WATERLOO CHAMBER or GRAND DINING ROOM contains portraits of the sovereigns, generals, and ministers who took part in the Congress of Vienna (1814-15). Most of them are by Lawrence, including the fine portrait of Pius VII. The wood-carving is by Grinling Gibbons. The carpet was woven in one piece by Indian convicts at Agra. When a play is acted at Windsor Castle this room is used as the theatre. The GRAND VESTIBULE contains armour and a rich collection of firearms from the early 16th to the early 19th century, the tiger-head footstool of Tippu Sahib, and a statue of Queen Victoria. The silver gilt throne originally belonged to the King of Kandy. The pictures by West represent scenes from the reign of Edward III. In one corner is the black flag of the Khalifa, captured at Omdurman in 1898. We now regain the Grand Staircase, but leave the building by a smaller staircase, which descends to an exit close to the Upper Ward.