Wednesday, 25 February 2015

St George's Chapel, Windsor - a Regency History guide

St George's Chapel, Windsor
St George's Chapel, Windsor
St George’s Chapel stands in the Lower Ward of Windsor Castle. It is the home of the College of St George and the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter. It is built in the graceful architectural style of English Perpendicular Gothic with characteristically large windows with vertical tracery and fan vaulting.

The College of St George and the Order of the Garter

The College of St George was founded by Edward III in 1348. At the same time, he created the Order of the Garter, a chivalric order inspired by King Arthur’s legendary Knights of the Round Table, and he provided each of the 25 knights with a stall in the chapel of St George’s.

Edward III also appointed 26 poor military veterans whom he called Poor Knights as part of the College. Their duty was to pray for the King and the Knights of the Order in return for food and lodging. Their number was later halved and in 1834, they were renamed Military Knights.

There is an annual service for the Order of the Garter held in St George’s Chapel. The banners of living Knights of the Garter hang in the choir.

Plan of the Stalls of the Knights of the Garter,  Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle,  from The Visitants' Guide to Windsor Castle (1828)
Plan of the Stalls of the Knights of the Garter,
Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle,
from The Visitants' Guide to Windsor Castle (1828)
The history of St George’s Chapel

In 1475, Edward IV commissioned a new chapel for the College of St George. Work began under the supervision of Richard Beauchamp, Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of the Order, and the choir (1) was finished, with a wooden roof, in 1484.

During the reign of Henry VII, the nave was finished, the huge stained glass West Window completed and the choir vault built. The chapel was finally completed in 1528, during the reign of Henry VIII, with the building of the fan vaulting over the crossing.

St George’s Chapel was restored during the reign of George III by Henry Emlyn. The chapel was fitted out with an organ, built by Samuel Green of Isleworth and paid for by the King, and an organ screen of Coade stone was designed to carry it.

An 1848 history of Windsor summarised the development thus: “The choir was built by Edward III, but was enlarged by Edward IV and improved by Henry VII, and several of his successors, but more especially George III.” (2)

St George's Chapel, Windsor
St George's Chapel, Windsor
The choir

The choir was furnished with carved oak stalls with elaborate canopies and brass stall plates embellished with the arms of the Knights of the Garter fixed to the back of each stall.

Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
An 1828 guide to Windsor wrote:
“This part of the chapel is appropriated to the performance of Divine Service and the ceremony of installing the knights of the Garter. The richness of the roof and carved work, the beautiful effect of the great painted window above the altar, and the banners of the knights surmounting their respective stalls combine to present to the eye an almost unrivalled union of sublimity and grandeur. The floor is paved with marble in alternate diamond-shaped squares of black and white, and the communion-table is approached by an ascent of four steps. The stalls of the knights are ranged on each side of the choir, and those of the sovereign and the princes of the blood-royal under the organ gallery; the foreign potentates, members of the order, are next in succession, the knights ranking according to the date of their investiture. Over each stall, under a canopy of carved work, is the sword, mantle, helmet, and crest of the knight; above these is the banner on which are his armorial bearings, and at the back of the seat an engraved brass plate records his name, style, and titles. The stall of the sovereign is distinguished from those of the other knights by a canopy and curtains of purple velvet, embroidered with rich gold fringe. On the pedestals of the stalls the history of the life of our Saviour is represented in uncommonly rich carved work, and on those under the organ-gallery are the adventures of St. George, the patron saint of the order. In 1814 an addition was made to the number of knights, and six new stalls were in consequence added, in front of which are carved the attempt of Margaret Nicholson to assassinate his late Majesty, the procession of the King to St. Paul's on the great day of thanksgiving for his recovery from indisposition in 1789, the interior of the cathedral on that occasion, and a representation of Queen Charlotte's charity-school. On the outside of the upper seat of the stalls a broad girth, continued on both sides of the chapel, is carved in Saxon characters with the twentieth psalm, supposed to be intended as a supplication for the sovereign of the order. The great painted window over the altar was designed by Mr. West and executed by Messrs. Jarvis and Forest between the years 1785 and 1788. The subject is the Resurrection of our Saviour.” (3)
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, from Windsor Castle and its environs by L Ritchie (1848)
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle,
from Windsor Castle and its environs by L Ritchie (1848)
What Horace Walpole thought

In October 1791, Horace Walpole wrote to Miss Berry his thoughts about St George’s Chapel after its restoration:
“St George's Chapel, that I always worshipped, though so dark and black that I could see nothing distinctly, is now, being cleaned and decorated, a scene of lightness and graces. Mr. Conway was so struck with its Gothic beauties and taste, that he owned the Grecian style would not admit half the variety of its imagination. There is a new screen prefixed to the choir, so airy and harmonious, that I concluded it Wyat's; but it is by a Windsor architect, whose name I forget. Jarvis's window, over the altar, after West, is rather too sombre for the Resurrection, though it accords with the tone of the choirs; but the Christ is a poor figure, scrambling to heaven in a fright, as if in dread of being again buried alive, and not ascending calmly in secure dignity: and there is a Judas below, so gigantic, that he seems more likely to burst by his bulk, than through guilt. In the midst of all this solemnity, in a small angle over the lower stalls, is crammed a small bas-relief, in oak, with the story of Margaret Nicholson, the King, and the Coachman, as ridiculously added and as clumsily executed as if it were a monkish miracle. Some loyal zealot has broken away the blade of the knife, as if the sacred wooden personage would have been in danger still.” (4)
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
The monument to Princess Charlotte

Charlotte, Princess of Wales, the only daughter of George IV, died on 6 November 1817 after giving birth to a stillborn son the evening before. The mourning public raised a subscription for a memorial to their beloved princess but rather than placing it in a public location, George IV built it in the Urswick Chapel, within the confines of St George’s Chapel.

An 1828 guide to Windsor said:
"It is unnecessary here to advert to the deep grief in which the decease of this amiable Princess involved the whole of the kingdom; and even when time had in some measure allayed the sorrow that was so universally felt, the recollection of her many virtues, public and private, was fondly cherished as affording a bright example for future generations. From the metropolis of the empire to the remotest district under the sway of the British sceptre, the wish to erect a national tribute to the memory of her worth pervaded every class of society, and a subscription to carry this purpose into effect was speedily raised, and placed under the control of a highly respectable committee of management. A number of designs were submitted to their notice, and a monumental group in marble by Mr Wyatt was ultimately approved.” (3)
It would appear that the monument did not meet with universal approval. Ritchie wrote in 1848:
“The cenotaph of the lamented Princess Charlotte is also liable to much censure. The principal figure is indelicate, and those reclining are formal, and in bad taste, as well as stiff and uninteresting. It is a pity that a curtain is not drawn over the whole.” (2)
The 1828 guide was critical but more forgiving:
“Such is the outline of the last tribute paid by a sorrowing country to the memory of this much-esteemed Princess; viewed as a work of art, the design is, perhaps, objectionable, but its execution, especially in the ascending figure, reflects great credit on the abilities of the sculptor.” (3)
There is a description of the monument in The Mirror (1833) together with an engraving of the monument:
Monument to Princess Charlotte of Wales,
Urswick Chapel, St George's Chapel,
Windsor Castle from The Mirror (1833)
“The monument is a fine group in spotless marble, designed and executed by Matthew Wyatt Esq. Its situation is appropriate, being in the beautiful Chapel of St. George, at Windsor. It occupies one of the minor chapels called Urswick, from Dr Christopher Urswick, a Dean of Windsor, and a coadjutor of Sir Reginald Bray, in completing the erection of St. George's Chapel.”
“The subject is divided into two compartments: in the lower one, the body of the deceased Princess is represented lying on a bier, covered with drapery, the lower part of one hand being alone visible, although the outline of the whole figure is preserved. At each corner is an attendant female mourner. The apotheosis of the Princess forms the second division of the subject: her spirit is ascending from a mausoleum, supported by two angels, one of whom bears her infant. The whole group is surmounted by an elegant canopy, enriched with point-work, and gilding, the arms of Great Britain and those of the house of Saxe-Cobourg being boldly emblazoned in the centre. In the upper division of the windows at the back of the monument, St. Peter and five other apostles are delineated in painted glass by Mr. Wyatt; and the light streaming through two side windows painted orange and purple, upon the monument, produces a fine effect indeed, the broad beams of the sun through these tinged windows upon the gilded tracery and spotless white of the group produce a richness and brilliancy which are scarcely describable.” (5)
Memorial to Mary Gascoin

Just before the exit from St George’s Chapel there is an inscription engraved high up on the right wall. It is a memorial to a faithful servant of Princess Amelia, youngest daughter of George III, who died on 2 November 1810. The inscription reads thus:

King George III
Caused to be interred
Near this place, the body of
Mary Gascoin,
Servant to the late Princess Amelia,
And this tablet to be erected,
In testimony of His grateful sense of the faithful services and attachment of
An amiable young woman
To his beloved daughter,
Whom she survived only three months.
She died on the 19th of Feb., 1811,
Aged 31 years.

Lower Ward, Windsor Castle, showing St George's Chapel on the left
Lower Ward, Windsor Castle, showing St George's Chapel on the left
The burial vault

A new royal vault was built by George III in 1804-10. It is entered by a subterranean passage from the vault under the choir of St George’s Chapel.

William, Duke of Gloucester, George III’s brother, built a special vault near the Sovereign’s stall in the choir for his family burials.

List of Georgian burials

All burials were in the royal vault unless otherwise indicated.

  • 13 November 1810 - Princess Amelia in a temporary vault near the entrance to the royal vault
  • 18 November 1817 - A still-born male infant, the son of Princess Charlotte, at the feet of his mother
  • 11 February 1820 - The coffins of the infant princes, Prince Alfred (died 1782) and Prince Octavius (died 1783), were transferred from Westminster Abbey to the royal vault
  • 4 March 1821 - Princess Elizabeth, infant daughter of William IV
  • 16 July 1832 - Princess Louisa, Duchess of Saxe-Weimar, niece of Queen Adelaide, in a vault in the north choir aisle
  • 13 December 1849 - Queen Adelaide
  • 25 March 1861 Princess Victoria, Duchess of Kent in the entrance to the royal vault (transferred to the mausoleum, Frogmore, 1 August 1861)

Adjacent to St George’s Chapel is the Albert Memorial Chapel, built by Queen Victoria to commemorate the death of her husband, Prince Albert, who died in 1861.

Notes
(1) The College of St George, Windsor, website uses the Anglican alternative spelling quire.
(2) From Windsor Castle and its environs by Leitch Ritchie (1848)
(3) From The Visitants’ guide to Windsor Castle (1828)
(4) In a letter from Horace Walpole to Miss Berry, Oct 1791, from The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford 6/6 (1840)
(5) From The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction (1833)

Last visited: Feburary 2015
Read more about Windsor Castle in my Regency History guide here.
Plan your visit here.

Sources used include:
Pyne, WH, The history of the Royal Residences of Windsor Castle, St James's Palace, Carlton House, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Buckingham House and Frogmore (1819)
Ritchie, Leitch Esq, Windsor Castle and its environs, 2nd edition with additions by Edward Jesse (1848)
Robinson, John Martin, Windsor Castle, the official guidebook (2004, Royal Collection Enterprises Ltd)
Robinson, John Martin, Windsor Castle, the official illustrated history (2013, Royal Collection Trust)
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement and Instruction (1833)
The visitants' guide to Windsor castle and its vicinity (1828)
Walpole, Horace, The Letters of Horace Walpole, Earl of Orford, in six volumes (1840)

College of St George, Windsor website 

All photographs © Andrew Knowles

Friday, 20 February 2015

Windsor Castle - a Regency History guide

Round Tower, Windsor Castle
Round Tower, Windsor Castle
Where is it?

Windsor Castle is in Windsor in Berkshire. It is one of the Queen’s official residences.

Early history

Windsor Castle dates from the time of William the Conqueror who built a defensive motte and bailey castle on the site around 1080. Henry I started to use it as a royal residence from around 1100, attracted by the royal hunting forest in what is now Windsor Great Park and the castle’s close proximity to London.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
The Order of the Garter established

Over the years, successive monarchs modified and expanded the castle. Henry II largely rebuilt the castle in stone in the 1170s. Edward III added the Norman Gate and transformed the castle into a Gothic palace. He established the Order of the Garter in 1348 and built St George’s Hall. In 1475, Edward IV started the building of St George’s Chapel and Henry VIII added the gate that carries his name in 1511.

King Henry VIII's Gate, Windsor Castle
King Henry VIII's Gate, Windsor Castle
Charles II’s Baroque palace

During the Civil War (1642-9), the castle was used as a prison by the Parliamentarians and stripped of many of its treasures. After the Restoration, Charles II revived the castle’s splendour in the Baroque style using the skills of a master woodcarver, Grinling Gibbons, to embellish his oak-panelled rooms and the Italian artist Antonio Verrio to paint the ceilings. He also established The Long Walk in the Great Park.

George III’s Gothic castle

The early Hanoverian monarchs had a preference for Hampton Court, but George III disliked it and chose to reside at Windsor Castle instead. He took over a house in the Great Park and remodelled it with the help of Sir William Chambers. This became known as the Upper or Queen’s Lodge and the King lived very informally here.

In 1790, George III took over the management of Windsor Great Park, laying out two large farms and purchasing the lease of Frogmore House for Queen Charlotte. With the help of James Wyatt, George III started to upgrade the main castle buildings. The existing round arched windows were changed into pointed Gothic ones. Oak panelling was removed and replaced with fabric to lighten the rooms and a new Gothic staircase was built.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
Wyatville’s work for George IV

During the Regency, George IV built and lived at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park, but when he became king, he wanted to move into the castle. However, he found the existing accommodations inadequate and planned an extensive redevelopment of the castle with the help of his artistic advisor, Sir Charles Long. He transformed Windsor Castle at the cost of almost one million pounds, employing Jeffry Wyatt, nephew of his father’s architect, to carry out the work. Jeffry Wyatt was knighted for his endeavours and changed his name to Wyatville.

Lower Ward, Windsor Castle
Lower Ward, Windsor Castle
Wyatville built new towers and a range of new State Apartments for the King on the east and south sides of the castle, adding the Grand Corridor along two sides of the Quadrangle to make moving about the castle easier.

He increased the height of the Round Tower and created a new entrance, the George IV gateway, and gave it a clear view to the Long Walk in the Great Park. He made the outside of the castle uniformly Gothic in appearance and added battlements creating Windsor’s iconic skyline.

The skyline of Windsor Castle
The skyline of Windsor Castle
In 1829, Wyatville fashioned a new St George’s Hall from the existing one and the adjacent chapel, destroying Verrio’s murals in the process.

Glittering decorations and recycling

George IV liked to mix up his styles. Some of his rooms were very Gothic, such as the State Dining Room, whereas others were more classical, influenced by his Francophile taste, such as the Crimson Drawing Room. A surprising number of items were brought from Carlton House and reused in the castle including a number of chimney pieces and doors. The new State Apartments were fitted out by the firm of Morel & Sedon who employed the young AWN Pugin, among others, to design the Gothic furniture and fittings.

George IV moved into the castle in 1828, just two years before his death, and with the work unfinished.

The Waterloo Chamber

William IV completed the building works, including the Waterloo Chamber, which was part of George IV’s original plan for the redevelopment of Windsor. It was a room specifically designed to house Sir Thomas Lawrence’s portraits of the Allied monarchs, commanders and statesmen commissioned by George IV. Unfortunately, William lacked George’s artistic eye and the work was not always completed as precisely as George had intended.

Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle,  from Windsor Castle and its environs by L Ritchie (1848)
Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle,
from Windsor Castle and its environs by L Ritchie (1848)
Windsor after the Georgians

Much of Windsor today is as it was at the end of William IV’s reign. A few alterations have been made, such as Queen Victoria rebuilding the Grand Staircase, but the most significant changes have been the result of a devastating fire in 1992. This damaged a major part of the castle including George IV’s State Apartments and destroyed the ceiling of St George’s Hall. Thankfully, the rooms were largely empty at the time as the castle was in the process of being rewired. Windsor Castle has now been restored to its former glory.

What can you see today?

As this is an active royal residence, the castle may be closed on certain days. Check on the website here. The State Apartments are open most of the year but the Semi-State Rooms (The Green Drawing Room, the Crimson Drawing Room, the State Dining Room, the Octagon Dining Room and the corridors that connect them to the State Apartments) are only open during the winter months. St George’s Chapel is closed on Sundays except for services.

No photography is allowed inside the buildings and so I have used old prints of the rooms to illustrate but please note that the Pyne prints illustrate the rooms in George III's time before his son's alterations.

Highlights from outside Windsor Castle

The Round Tower
Round Tower, Windsor Castle
Round Tower, Windsor Castle
 • King Henry VIII’s Gate (pictured above)

The Norman Gate

The Norman Gate leading to the Upper Ward, Windsor Castle
The Norman Gate leading to the Upper Ward, Windsor Castle
Highlights from inside Windsor Castle

Queen Mary’s dolls’ house. Given to Queen Mary in 1924, it is made on a scale of one to twelve and housed in a separate room to the left of the entrance to the State Apartments.

The Drawings Gallery. This is situated at the top of the stairs leading into the State Apartments. This has a selection of prints and drawings from the Royal Collection on display, currently on the theme of Waterloo.

• The magnificent larger than life-size marble statue of George IV on the Grand Staircase by Sir Francis Chantrey.

The China Museum. Displays include the Etruscan service made in Naples 1785-7 and given to George III by the King of Naples in 1787.

• Queen Charlotte’s sedan chairs in the Grand Vestibule. There are two chairs which were both made for Queen Charlotte. Each has a crown on the roof, but one is highly decorated and the other is quite plain except for the base which is decorated by a lion on one side and a unicorn on the other. On the wall next to the ornate chair are the poles that were used to carry it. Both chairs are quite small – I imagine they must have been quite claustrophobic!

The Waterloo Chamber. The majority of the portraits were painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, commissioned by George IV. They include the Duke of Wellington; Pope Pius VII; George III; George IV; Frederick, Duke of York; and Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge.

King’s Drawing Room. Part of Charles II’s Baroque palace. George IV’s body lay in state in this room after his death in 1830.

King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
King's Drawing Room, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
King’s Bedchamber. Another of the Charles II rooms, displaying a bed purchased by George IV. The fireplace was designed by Sir William Chambers and was originally at Buckingham House.

King's Old State Bedchamber, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
King's Old State Bedchamber, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
King’s Dining Room. This room still has its ceiling by Verrio and wood carvings by Grinling Gibbons. It is rather dark as all the windows are internal.

Queen’s Ballroom. Full of Van Dyck paintings.

Ballroom, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Ballroom, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Queen’s Presence Chamber. The ceiling is by Verrio and depicts Catherine of Braganza and the Sword of Justice defeating Envy and Sedition. The marble chimneypiece includes a clock with marble figures on either side which was carved by John Bacon in 1789 for Queen Charlotte’s Saloon at Buckingham House. The Gobelins tapestries were acquired by George IV.

Queen's Presence Chamber, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Queen's Presence Chamber, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Queen’s Guard Chamber. This room was remodelled in the Gothic style for George IV. On display are the rent flags of the Dukes of Wellington and Marlborough, hanging over marble busts of the two men. These rent flags must be presented annually to the crown in lieu of rent for their estates. The Duke of Wellington has to present a Republican tricolour for his estate of Stratfield Saye on 18 June, the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo; the Duke of Marlborough presents a Bourbon fleurs-de-lys for Blenheim Palace on 2 August, the anniversary of the Battle of Blenheim.

Queen's Guard Chamber, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Queen's Guard Chamber, Windsor Castle,
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Crimson Drawing Room. This room has bay windows and looks out over the gardens and has been beautifully restored in crimson and gold after the 1992 fire to the splendour of George IV’s original design. There are portraits of all six of George III’s daughters by Sir William Beechey on display.

State Dining Room. George IV’s Gothic dining room was restored after the fire to the design of Morel & Seddons. On display is a painting by George Knapton of The Family of Frederick Prince of Wales (1751) and furniture designed by AC Pugin and his 15 year old son, AWN Pugin who became a very famous architect and designer.

Garter Throne Room. The elaborate canopy above the throne was originally made for George III’s Audience Chamber.

St George’s Hall. The Romantic Gothic design is said to have been inspired by Sir Walter Scott. It was built by Wyatville for George IV but has a completely new ceiling to replace the one damaged by the fire. There are shields all over the walls and ceiling representing the knights of the Order of the Garter. There are a number of Georgian busts on display including Frederick, Duke of York, by Joseph Nollekens (1813) and George IV by Sir Francis Chantrey (1826).

St George's Hall, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
St George's Hall, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
St George's Hall, Windsor Castle,  from Windsor Castle and its environs by L Ritchie (1848)
St George's Hall, Windsor Castle,
from Windsor Castle and its environs by L Ritchie (1848)
Lantern Lobby. A new room to replace the chapel destroyed by the fire. On display are many silver-gilt vessels acquired by George IV and Henry VIII’s armour.

St George’s Chapel. Perpendicular Gothic architecture with a monument to Princess Charlotte inside.

St George's Chapel, Lower Ward, Windsor Castle
St George's Chapel, Lower Ward, Windsor Castle
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle  from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle
from The History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne (1819)
Last visited: February 2015
Read more about St George's Chapel in my Regency History guide here.
Plan your visit here.

Sources used include:
Pyne, WH, The history of the Royal Residences of Windsor Castle, St James's Palace, Carlton House, Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Buckingham House and Frogmore (1819)
Ritchie, Leitch Esq, Windsor Castle and its environs, 2nd edition with additions by Edward Jesse (1848)
Robinson, John Martin, Windsor Castle, the official guidebook (2004, Royal Collection Enterprises Ltd)
Robinson, John Martin, Windsor Castle, the official illustrated history (2013, Royal Collection Trust)
The visitants' guide to Windsor castle and its vicinity (1828)

All photographs © Andrew Knowles

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Waterloo at Windsor 1815-2015 exhibition

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle
The Waterloo at Windsor 1815-2015 exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo which took place on 18 June 1815. This battle marked the defeat of Napoleon and ushered in an era of peace between Britain and France.

The main part of the exhibition is in the Drawings Gallery with other items spread throughout the State Apartments. There is a souvenir map and guide to the exhibition which is included free with the Windsor Castle guidebook or it can be bought separately for £2. The exhibition runs until 13 January 2016.

Read about the history of Windsor Castle in my Regency History guide.

Napoleon Bonaparte, after Nanine Vallain (1802)  Royal Collection Trust   © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon Bonaparte, after Nanine Vallain (1802)
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
The Drawings Gallery

The Drawings Gallery is at the top of the stairs leading to the State Apartments. Don’t miss it! First time round, we walked straight past it into the State Apartments on the right and had to go back to find out where it was.

Entrance to State Apartments,  Windsor Castle
Entrance to State Apartments,
Windsor Castle
The Drawings Gallery contains a display of pictures and prints about Waterloo from the Royal Collection, most of which were collected by George IV who was fanatical about the Battle of Waterloo. These include contemporary satirical prints and drawings of the battlefield as well as pictures of the military leaders from both sides.

Distant View of La Belle Alliance, Field of Waterloo (1815)  by Denis Dighton  Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Distant View of La Belle Alliance, Field of Waterloo (1815)
by Denis Dighton
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon's letter of surrender sent to   George, Prince Regent, 13 July 1815  Royal Archives  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon's letter of surrender sent to
George, Prince Regent, 13 July 1815
Royal Archives © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon Bonaparte,   published by Rudolph Ackermann (1816)  Royal Collection Trust   © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon Bonaparte,
published by Rudolph Ackermann (1816)
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon’s carriage on display at Bullock’s Museum – a print

I was especially interested in a Rowlandson print of Bullock’s Museum from 1816. After the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon’s carriage was captured by the allied army. The British government sold the carriage to William Bullock who put it on display in his museum in London in 1816. The print depicts a huge crowd of people climbing all over Napoleon’s carriage which proved to be a very popular exhibit. What I cannot figure out is why he was allowed to buy the carriage in the first place. Given George IV’s obsession with Waterloo, I thought he would have bought it for his collection. I guess that he could not afford it!

Exhibition at Bullocks Museum of Bonepartes Carriage taken at
Waterloo by Thomas Rowlandson, published by Ackermann (1816)
 © The Trustees of the British Museum (1)
The Waterloo Elm

The other picture I particularly liked was a drawing by Anna Children – The Waterloo Elm (1818). This depicts the tree under which the Duke of Wellington sat on the battlefield of Waterloo. After the battle, it became a popular haunt of tourists who took bits of tree home with them as souvenirs. The owner of the land grew tired of having his crops ruined and decided to cut the tree down. Fortunately, Anna was able to draw the tree before it was felled and her father bought the wood from the owner.

The Waterloo Elm by Anna Children (1818)  Royal Collection Trust   © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
The Waterloo Elm by Anna Children (1818)
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
The Waterloo Chair

One of the pieces of furniture made from wood from the elm tree was The Waterloo Chair. It was carved by Thomas Chippendale the Younger and presented to George IV in 1821. It is on display in King’s Drawing Room.

The Waterloo Chair   made by Thomas Chippendale the Younger  Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
The Waterloo Chair
made by Thomas Chippendale the Younger
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
The Table of the Great Commanders

Next to The Waterloo Chair, is the Table of the Great Commanders. This exquisite table was made for Napoleon and given to George IV while he was Regent by the restored King of France, Louis XVIII. George liked it so much that he had it painted in the background of all his state portraits. I saw it last year at Buckingham Palace where it is usually on show.

Tables des Grands Capitaines from the Sevres   porcelain factory gifted to George, Prince Regent,   by Louis XVIII of France (1806-12)  Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Tables des Grands Capitaines from the Sèvres
 porcelain factory - given to George, Prince Regent,
 by Louis XVIII of France (1806-12)
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Napoleon’s cloak

There are a number of Napoleon Bonaparte’s belongings on display which were retrieved from his carriage and baggage train after they were captured. One of the most impressive of these is Napoleon’s cloak – a stunning, full-length, hooded red felt cloak lined with yellow silk – which is on display in the Grand Vestibule. If you stand next to the display, you can get a feel for how tall Napoleon really was. The audio guide says he was about 5 foot 6 inches which was average for the time.

Cloak belonging to Napoleon Bonapartetaken from the Emperor's   fleeing baggage train and presented to George, Prince Regent,  by Field-Marshal Blucher (1797-1805)  Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Cloak belonging to Napoleon Bonapartetaken from the Emperor's
fleeing baggage train and presented to George, Prince Regent,
by Field-Marshal Blucher (1797-1805)
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Across the room from Napoleon’s cloak is his old adversary, the Duke of Wellington, represented by a marble bust.

More items from Napoleon’s baggage train are on display in the Queen’s Guard Chamber, including his travelling desk set, an engraved silver-gilt tea service and a sword.

Silver-gilt teapot made by Martin Guillaume Biennais,  engraved with Napoleon's coat of arms  acquired by Queen Mary - Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
Silver-gilt teapot made by Martin Guillaume Biennais,
engraved with Napoleon's coat of arms
acquired by Queen Mary - Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
In honour of the Duke of Wellington

In the Queen’s Guard Chamber there is a copper cast of the Duke of Wellington’s hands. There is also a second marble bust of the Duke and above this hangs what is known as a rent flag. The Duke of Wellington was awarded the estate of Stratfield Saye in 1817 in thanks for his military endeavours at Waterloo. His rent to the crown each year is the presentation of a ‘rent flag’ to the crown – a tricolour flag edged in gold braid ending in two golden tassels and with the year to which it relates embroidered or printed on. Flags from previous years can be seen hanging from the ceiling in the Drawings Gallery.

The hands of the Duke of Wellington by Baron Carlo Marochetti  Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
The hands of the Duke of Wellington by Baron Carlo Marochetti
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015
The Waterloo Chamber

The Waterloo Chamber holds an impressive display of portraits of the allied sovereigns, military leaders and statesmen of the time. They were largely commissioned by George IV and painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence, but the room itself was not created until the 1830s, in the reign of William IV. Although these paintings are always on display at Windsor, the Chamber has been specially opened up for the exhibition this year and it is possible to walk all around the room and get a much closer look than normal.

The Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle  Photo: Mark Fiennes  Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
The Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle
Photo: Mark Fiennes
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
George IV by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1821)  Royal Collection Trust  © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
George IV by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1821)
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington,
by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1814-15)
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
Windsor - well worth a visit

The Waterloo at Windsor exhibition is free with a standard entry ticket to Windsor Castle. For me, the highlights of the exhibition were Napoleon’s cloak and The Waterloo Chair, and being able to take a closer look at all the portraits in the Waterloo Chamber.

I would have liked to have seen a few more items of Waterloo memorabilia on display; the drawings were interesting but it is the objects that really bring the subject to life. If you have visited Windsor recently, I would hesitate to recommend going just to see the exhibition unless you are a big fan of Napoleon or Waterloo. However, Windsor Castle is well worth seeing and this is a really good time to visit as the Waterloo Chamber is so much more accessible than usual.

An added bonus if you visit before 29 March is that the Semi-State Rooms are open, giving you a peek at several rooms not open during the summer, including the Crimson Drawing Room with its superb portraits of all six of George III’s daughters.

Rachel at the Waterloo at Windsor 1815-2015 exhibition
Rachel at the Waterloo at Windsor 1815-2015 exhibition
Find out more on the Royal Collection Trust website.

Note
(1) There was a limited number of photographs available to me from the exhibition and this particular print was not included. However, I found the same print on the British Museum website.

All photographs not otherwise credited © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato