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James Roberts (c. 1800-67)

The Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace dated 1855

Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil | 27.4 x 38.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 919924

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  • A watercolour of the Yellow Drawing Room at the south-east corner of Buckingham Palace. Many of the contents shown came from Brighton Pavilion. The chimney piece made for the Saloon at Brighton in 1822 was set up in this room by Blore. Signed and dated: Js Roberts / 1855

    Like the Chinese Dining Room, the Yellow Drawing Room was intended to contain some of the more extravagant fixtures and fittings from Brighton Pavilion. It occupies the south-east corner of Blore's new wing at first-floor level, looking out over the forecourt and interconnecting with the adjoining suite of visitors' bedrooms and dressing rooms. The magnificent chimneypiece, designed by Robert Jones, came from the Saloon at Brighton, as did the pair of mounted Chinese celadon candelabra on it. The Rock Clock however was originally in the Music Room at Brighton, as were the pair of Chinese porcelain pagodas on Spode bases, matching a larger set of four. Either side of the chimneypiece stand a pair of chinoiserie tables, one French, c.1780 and originally from the Chinese Room at Carlton House, the other an English copy made by Edward Bailey in 1819 for the Music Room Gallery at Brighton. From the Banqueting Room Gallery came the set of chairs by Bailey & Sanders, and from the Banqueting Room itself came the Spode lamp in the far corner. Between the pagodas stands a centre table with pietra dura top made by Morel & Seddon for the Crimson Drawing Room at Windsor.

    The Yellow Drawing Room was redecorated and hung in richly figured yellow silk for the State Visit of the Emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie in 1855. The imperial couple spent three days at Windsor before moving on with Queen Victoria for a further three days at Buckingham Palace. In the years after the First World War, Queen Mary rearranged the room and installed a fine early nineteenth-century Chinese wallpaper that she had discovered in store. Today the room is frequently used by Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family for portrait sittings.

    Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002

    From Queen Victoria's Souvenir Album, volume VI, folio 65. On 17 May 1855 Roberts was paid £29 8s (7 gns each) for RCIN 919924-919227 (WRA Add T 232/74; PP 2/11/5426; PP)

  • Medium and techniques

    Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil


    27.4 x 38.0 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Alternative title(s)

    Buckingham Palace: the Yellow Drawing-Room prepared for Napoleon III

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