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James Stephanoff (1789-1874)

Buckingham House: The Queen’s Breakfast Room 1817

Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil | 20.2 x 25.3 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 922145

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  • This west-facing room was immediately to the south of the Crimson Drawing Room. The door at the left led into the staircase hall while that to the right of the chimneypiece led to a small private staircase connecting to the King's Closet and Bedroom on the ground floor below.

    The black and gold painted panelling was transferred from the Crimson Drawing Room in 1763. It had been part of the furnishings of the original Buckingham House and was acquired with the house by George III in 1762. The King's cabinet-maker William Vile repaired and reassembled the panelling for its new setting. Evidently it was not thought appropriate to add a painted ceiling of the type introduced into the two rooms to the north. The mahogany organ to the left of the chimneypiece is supplied by John Bradburn in 1766/7; it is now in The Queen's Chapel, St James's Palace. In the 1770s and 1780s a number of paintings were recorded hanging in this room, including two large canvases by Van Dyck: Charles I and M. de St Antoine and The Great Piece. These were among the pictures transferred in 1804 to Windsor, where they are shown by Pyne in the Queen's Presence Chamber.

    A notable feature of the decoration is the porcelain displayed on the chimneypiece and on the ledge above, and over the doors. Queen Charlotte is known to have assembled a fine group of porcelain from a variety of different sources. In 1783 Horace Walpole described the impression created by these pieces: 'Some modern jars of Chinese porcelaine, many of Chelsea porcelaine, & a few of Seve'. Among the porcelain on the chimneypiece is a pair of King's vases.

    The arrangement of the drapery on the window wall - and the seat furniture - shown here was introduced in January 1810 by Elliot Son and Francis, upholsterers. Eight years earlier an anonymous account in the Gentleman's Magazine recorded that the velvet curtains had been 'painted by Princess Elizabeth, in shades of brown and maroon, in imitation of cut velvet'. The carpet recorded in Stephanoff's view may also date from 1810; in 1802 there was no carpet.

    Catalogue entry adapted from George III & Queen Charlotte: Patronage, Collecting and Court Taste, London, 2004

    Probably acquired by George IV

  • Medium and techniques

    Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil


    20.2 x 25.3 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Other number(s)
    Alternative title(s)

    The Queen's Breakfast Room, Buckingham Palace.