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Queen Victoria's Palace
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JAMES ROBERTS (C. 1800-67)

The Pavilion Breakfast Room at Buckingham Palace

dated May 1850

Watercolour and bodycolour with gum arabic | 25.6 x 38.0 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 919918

A watercolour depicting an interior view of the Pavilion Breakfast Room, in the north-east corner of Blore's new east block, fitted with furniture from Dining Room at Brighton Pavilion. Known by 1873 as the Queen's Luncheon Room. Signed and dated: JRoberts / May 1850

The Breakfast Room was furnished with materials from Brighton Pavilion, which the Queen had sold two years earlier. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to occupy the newly rebuilt Buckingham Palace. She soon found it inconveniently planned and lacking in space for her growing family and in 1845 she pressed her Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, to do something about it as a matter of urgency. In 1846 work started on the new East Wing, using Thomas Cubitt as contractor and Edward Blore as architect, under the close personal supervision of Prince Albert and the six parliamentary commissioners appointed by Peel. The cost of the new work, estimated at about £150,000, was to be offset by the sale of Brighton Pavilion and was to be further reduced by the incorporation into the new wing of many of the fixtures, fittings and furnishings which had been removed from Brighton. Three rooms at first-floor level were destined to receive the principal chinoiserie decorations removed from Brighton, of which the Pavilion Breakfast Room in the north-east corner (now known as the Chinese Dining Room) was the first to be completed, in June 1849. From the Music Room at Brighton came four from a set of eight Chinese porcelain vases on Spode bases, a painted glass lily chandelier and a spectacular marble chimneypiece carved by Richard Westmacott. On the chimneypiece stand a pair of Chinese porcelain candelabra vases, also from the Music Room, flanking the Kylin clock from the Saloon. Around the walls are paintings by Robert Jones and beneath them sideboards made by Bailey & Sanders. These and the set of dining chairs came from the Banqueting Room.

Text adapted from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, London, 2010

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