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Charles Wild (1781-1835)

Kensington Palace: Queen Caroline's Drawing Room c.1816

Pen and ink with watercolour and bodycolour, over pencil | 20.3 x 25.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 922151

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  • A watercolour of Queen Caroline's Drawing Room at Kensington Palace, made in preparation for one of the plates for William Henry Pyne's History of the Royal Residences (1816-1819). In 1723, William Kent was commissioned to decorate the ceiling of this space. He created a large oval painting featuring Mars and Minerva, the gods of war and wisdom, surrounded by trophies of the arts and sciences. The portrait of Frederick II of Prussia visible over the fireplace is on display in the red gallery. It was given to Frederick, Prince of Wales by the sitter in exchange of a portrait of his own.

    The paintings in this image, though sometimes difficult to see, can be tentatively identified from contemporaneous inventories: on the left wall we see part of a copy of Dossi’s Holy Family (406748), hanging over James Crichton (401233) and Schiavone’s Tobias and the Angel (406147); between this and the door a drop of three portraits, Salviati’s Giovanni della Casa (402876), over one unrecogniseable; over an old woman (406185); Tintoretto’s Man with Sword hangs over the door (402622); the large painting beyond the door is Van Dyck’s Cupid and Psyche (405571). On the wall facing us, the overdoor is an Italian female portrait (405773) and the overmantle is Pesne’s Frederick the Great in its original frame (406797), hanging over three small paintings, one that has left the collection, Apt’s double portrait (406925) and Bellini’s head (402826); on either side of the mantle are drops of four portraits, on the left (top to bottom) appear Cariani’s Lawyer (402888), over Dossi St William (405775), van Cleve's Eleanor of Austria (403369) and an anonymous youth (406163); on the right (top to bottom), an Italian female portrait (406132), over Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia (402681), Alice Spencer (405696) and Van Dyck’s head of a Saint (406099). On the window wall the three portraits in the corner may be Wissing’s Duke of Cambridge (401234), over Bassano’s Self-Portrait (402848), over a David with Goliath’s head (406056); two Amigoni children playing hang over the windows (405812, left & 405811, right); on the piers between them are two drops of four and two portraits, the first (top to bottom) has Maingaud princesses (404984) over Sir John Leman (402823), over a Tintoretto head (no longer in the collection) and a small Venetian Rest on the Flight (406142); the second sees the Margravine of Bayreuth as a child (406362) hanging over Prince Augustus William of Prussia (403010).  
    Provenance

    Made for William Henry Pyne's 'History of the Royal Residences', probably acquired by George IV

  • Medium and techniques

    Pen and ink with watercolour and bodycolour, over pencil

    Measurements

    20.3 x 25.0 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Other number(s)