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James Stephanoff (1789-1874)

Kensington Palace: Queen Mary's Drawing Room (The Admirals' Gallery) 1817

Watercolour over pencil | 19.9 x 25.1 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 922152

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  • A watercolour depicting a small room with wooden panelling, chimney breast and fireplace to the right, and windows on the opposite side. Large portraits hang on the walls. Another room is seen through the door at the far end of the room.

    The Queen's Apartment, in the north-east corner of the new palace of Kensington, was considerably enlarged for Queen Mary II in 1690 by the addition of a new staircase, a gallery and a series of smaller rooms. These adjoined the Queen's Drawing Room and Bedchamber, which had been added to the original Nottingham House the previous year. The neighbouring rooms in the King's Apartment, to the south and east, were reconfigured by William Kent in the reign of George I. George II and Queen Caroline used Kensington regularly but made few alterations to the fabric and after 1760 the palace fell into disuse. Stephanoff's view records a miscellaneous hang of pictures including a series of portraits of admirals after Kneller, copied from the originals then at Hampton Court Palace. Against the south wall stands a table attributed to Thomas Pelletier, probably made for Queen Anne c.1704.

    The paintings can be more specifically identified from contemporaneous inventories; though barely visible those on the window wall are probably from left to right; Polidoro decorative panels over the windows (402873 & 402875); a hexagonal painting by Salviati (402907) hangs above two anonymous English sea-scapes (405288 and 405062); the final bay includes two oval framed paintings, again by Salviati (402983-4); on the wall facing us we can recognise three Princesses by Maingaud over the door (404985); Admirals Churchill, Benbow and Jennings (405191, 404453 & 404451) hanging over St Peter (left, 402667) and a German portrait of a man (right, 406091), framing Heemskerk’s Four Last Things (CW 2, 405786); on the wall opposite the window an unidentified portrait appears over the mantle, while next to us Sir John Graden (405200) hangs over an anonymous double portrait (402528).

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

    Probably acquired by George IV

  • Medium and techniques

    Watercolour over pencil


    19.9 x 25.1 cm (sheet of paper)

  • Other number(s)
    Alternative title(s)

    The Admiral's Gallery, Kensington Palace.

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