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The Royal Collection at Windsor Castle

The sequence of rooms built at Windsor for Charles II and his Queen, Catherine of Braganza, between 1675 and 1678, formed the grandest sequence of baroque State Apartments in England. They contain some of the most important works of art in the Royal Collection, many of them in the historic settings for which they were originally commissioned. Alongside magnificent examples of porcelain, furniture and paintings, visitors can also see displays of arms and armour, silver gilt and sculpture.

The Semi-State Apartments feature interiors decorated by Morel & Sedon, with a selection of furnishings and fittings taken from Carlton House. They comprise the finest example of later Georgian taste in Britain and have been restored to their original magnificence.

Rooms and locations with objects on display

  • China Museum

    Originally intended to display George IV's collection of arms and armour, in the 1920s Queen Mary introduced the displays of porcelain to the Corridor.  Amongst the large quantity of Chinese and Japanese pieces from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries are parts of significant continental and English dining services.  The Manchester service, a Sèvres service presented to the Duchess of Manchester in 1783 by Louis XVI, was purchased by George IV in 1802.  The two Minton services are inspired by such examples from France.  The earlier one was purchased by Queen Victoria from the Great Exhibition in 1851, whilst the second was made for the future King Edward VIII and Queen Alexandra in 1863.

  • Crimson Drawing Room

    Crimson Drawing Room, Windsor Castle

    This is the principal room in the Semi-State Apartments, decorated to a design by Morel & Seddon and containing notable examples of their furniture. The black marble chimneypiece was originally designed for Carlton House by Vuliamy.   The walls are hung with the State Portraits of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth by Sir Gerald Kelly, painted at Windsor during the Second World War, as well as with portraits of George IV's siblings by Sir William Beechey.

  • Garter Throne Room

    Throne Room at Windsor Castle

    Created as part of Jeffry Wyatville's reconstruction of the Castle, the Garter Throne Room served as Queen Victoria's principle Throne Room, and is still the room where new Knights and Ladies of the Garter are invested by the Queen.  The room incorporates limewood carvings by Grinling Gibbons, rescued from other rooms during the renovations.

    Alongside Queen Victoria's magnificent Indian throne and footstool are portraits by Kneller, Winterhalter and Shee.  The room is lined with furniture, some of which was designed by James Wyatt for the Palace of Westminster, others by Morel and Sedon for Windsor itself.

  • Grand Reception Room

    The grand reception room

    Designed as the principle ballroom of the castle, this room displays George IV's love of all things French.  The walls are hung with a series of tapestries from the Gobelins factory in Paris, depicting the story of Jason and Medea.  A number of French bronzes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries line the room, amongst them a group of Louis XV, portrayed in armour, busts of Cardinal Richelieu and Charles I, as well as works by Jerome Derbais.  Perhaps the most striking piece on display is the large malachite urn, presented to Queen Victoria by Tsar Nicholas I in 1839, and one of the largest examples outside Russia.

  • Grand Staircase

    Sir Francis Chantrey's imposing statue of George IV dominates the staircase entrance to the State Apartments.  The statue is flanked on either side by displays of arms and armour based on William IV's arrangement, of which perhaps the most striking are the two composite suits of composite German armour, presented on horseback.  The two diminutive armours, made for the 14 year-old Henry, Prince of Wales, eldest son of James I, are elaborately decorated, and highlight the young man's love of chivalry.  One set was the gift of the King of France in 1607. 

  • Grand Vestibule

    The centrepiece of this room is the marble statue of Queen Victoria, by Sir Joseph Boehm, installed on completion of the space in 1872.  The showcases were originally to display a selection of the thousands of gifts received from across the Empire on her Golden Jubilee in 1888.

    On display now are works of art from every continent and from every reign from George III to Her Majesty The Queen, highlighting the links between the monarchy and the wider world.

  • Green Drawing Room

    Originally designed as a library, this room follows George IV's favourite plan of a long room with a bay window in the centre at one side.  The magnificent carpet, which survived the fire in 1992, was shown at the Great Exhibition in 1851, and designed specifically for this room by Ludwig Grüner.  Perhaps most eye catching, amongst the Morel and Sedon designed furniture, are the display cabinets, containing possibly the finest Sèvres porcelain dining service ever made.  This was ordered by Louis XVI of France for his own use at his palace at Versailles.  Work began on the service in 1783, and was halted with the King's execution in 1793.  The service was auctioned by the French Revolutionary government, and eventually acquired by George IV in 1810-11.

  • Inner Hall

    The Inner Hall at Windsor Castle, showing a vaulted ceiling with pillars

    This entrance hall, introduced as part of George IV's alterations to the castle, provides access to the State Apartments, and links the State Entrance with its views of the Long Walk, with the visitor entrance on the North Terrace.

  • King's Bed Chamber

    Access to the King's Bedchamber was limited, and would be where the King met his ministers to transact secret affairs of state.  The bed itself was almost certainly provided for George IV's bedroom at Carlton House by Georges Jacob, and moved to Windsor in 1827.  The walls are hung with views of Venice and Rome by Canaletto, and portraits by Reynolds and Gainsborough.

  • King's Closet

    Created for George III in 1804, this was the most private space, from which the King could escape the pressures of court life, surrounded by some of his most treasured possessions.  Today, the room contains some of the finest Italian Rennaisance paintings in the Royal Collection, with works by Agnolo Bronzino, Jacopo Bassano, Lorenzo Lotto and two thought to be by Titian.

  • King's Dining Room

    This room, Charles II's dining room, is overlooked by a ceiling painted by Antonio Verrio in the 1680s, depicting a feast of the gods.  The walls are adorned with carvings by Grinling Gibbons, garlands of fruit, flowers and game in keeping with the theme of the room.  Notable amongst the portraits is that of Bridget Holmes.  Probably commissioned by James II, it is an unusually grand depiction of a servant.  Holmes, a 'necessary woman', served four monarchs, and died at the age of 99. 

  • King's Drawing Room

    Originally the room where Charles II would receive important visitors and hold court assemblies, by the time of Queen Victoria this had become known as the 'Rubens Room', as it was hung entirely with works by or thought to be by the Flemish painter.  Several remain, including the striking Equestrian portrait of Don Rodrigo Calderón.  Alongside these are works by Rubens' contemporaries Van Dyck, Jan van der Hoecke and Gerrit van Honthorst. 

    In the bay window, added by Wyatville in the nineteenth century, stands the Organ-clock, made by Charles Clay.  This magnificent piece, incorporating an earlier rock-crystal and enamel casket made by the goldsmith Melchior Baumgartner.   The organ plays ten melodies, which mostly match settings by Handel.  The casket contains the Bible used by General Gordon at Khartoum.  He was one of Queen Victoria's great heroes, and following his death she ordered this relic to be placed inside the casket.

  • King's Dressing Room

    This room houses some of the most important Northern Renaissance paintings in the Royal Collection.  Alongside portraits by Hans Holbein the Younger, Lucas Cranach the Elder and Albrecht Dürer, probably the most famous work in the room is Pieter Breughel the Elder's The Massacre of the Innocents.  This painting originally depicted the biblical story in which King Herod ordered the killing of all new born children in Bethlehem.  At some point in the early seventeenth century, however, the details of the infant children were painted over, and the scene altered to become the sacking of a village.

  • Lantern Lobby

    This room was created after the fire of 1992, on the site of the former private chapel, and provides a route between the State and Semi-State apartments.  At its heart is the magnificent armour made for Henry VIII at Greenwich around 1540.  The lobby also contains some of the finest examples of gilded silver in the Royal Collection, many of which was acquired by George IV.  Outstanding pieces include the seventeenth-century Nautilus Cup and the National Cup, designed by John Flaxman.  The so-called Coronation Cup, designed by A.W.N. Pugin and made by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, was in fact not presented to George IV until 1827, long after his coronation.  One of the pieces that predates George IV is the magnificent William Kent designed centrepiece.  Made for Frederick, Prince of Wales in 1745, it was probably intended for use in his box at Vauxhall Gardens.

  • Octagon Room

    This room was badly damaged in the fire of 1992, although the marble fireplace miraculously survived the heat.  Much of the furniture was produced by Morel & Seddon, working to designs by the then fifteen year old A.W.N Pugin.  The central chandelier, again a Pugin design, was produced by Hancock & Rixon.

  • Queen Mary's Dolls' House Passage

    This display shows two remarkable French dolls, France and Marianne, and their remarkable wardrobe of clothes and accessories. The dolls were a gift to Princesses Elizabeth (Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret, during the 1938 State Visit to France.  The clothes and accessories were made by the leading French fashion houses, including Worth, Lanvin, Cartier, Hermès and Vuitton.

  • Queen's Audience Chamber

    The Queen's Audience Chamber at Windsor Castle

    This room retains its original carvings by Grinling Gibbons, as well as Antonio Verrio's ceiling , showing Catherine of Braganza in a chariot.  Although tapestries would have hung here in the seventeenth century, the examples now on display, from the Gobelins factory's History of Esther series, were made in the late eighteenth-century, and purchased by George IV in 1825.

  • Queen's Drawing Room

    Originally built as the 'Withdrawing Room' for Catherine of Braganza, by the nineteenth century this room was known as the Picture Gallery, and hung with Old Masters.  Today, it is home to some of the finest Tudor and Stuart portraits in the Royal Collection.  These include the famous Charles I in Three Positions by Van Dyck, painted as a model for the sculptor Bernini's marble bust of the monarch, lost in the Whitehall Palace fire of 1698.  Also present are Hans Eworth's portraits of Lord Darnley and the Earl of Lennox, and Elizabeth I and the Three Goddesses, William Scriven's portraits of Edward VI and Elizabeth I and Paul van Somer's portrait of James I.  The pair of white porcelain vases were presented to Queen Victoria on her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 by the Emperor of China.

  • Queen's Gallery

    Until the creation of the Grand Reception Room and Waterloo Chamber in the 1830s, this was the principle ballroom of the castle.  The room took on its present appearance during the reign of Queen Victoria, when it was hung exclusively with portraits by Anthony van Dyck.  These include The Five Eldest Children of Charles I, and George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham (1628-87), and Lord Francis Villiers (1629-48).  The magnificent chandeliers were also hung at this time.

    The silver furniture in this room, including an English table and mirror originally made for Kensington Palace, and a side table made for Charles II, are exceptionally rare survivals of perhaps the ultimate symbol of prestige and power.  Sets were often melted down for the value of their silver – this was the fate of many sets created for Louis XIV at Versailles.

  • Queen's Guard Chamber

    The decorative displays of armour on the walls are representative of seventeenth-century arrangements, whilst the cases contain more ornate examples of arms and armour, many from the collection of George IV at Carlton House.  The magnificent Glaubensschild was a christening present to the future King Edward VII from his godfather, King Frederick William IV of Prussia, whilst the Cellini Shield is a fine example of sixteenth-century metalwork, depicting scenes from the life of Julius Caeser.  The striking set of half-armour was presented to Charles I by the Prince of Savoy.

    Sir Francis Chantrey's bust of Admiral Lord Nelson dominates the room.  Originally displayed on a section of HMSVictory's foremast, the bust was commissioned by William IV, who had served with Nelson in the West Indies.  Above the busts of the Dukes of Marlborough and Wellington hang the Rent Banners provided by their descendants on the anniversaries of their victories at Blenheim and Waterloo as quit rents for the estates they received as a reward.  More recent conflicts are represented by the bust of William Churchill, and the Samurai short sword presented to Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten by Count Terauchi to mark the end of World War II in the Far East in 1945.

  • Queen's Presence Chamber

    The magnificent painted ceiling, by Antonio Verrio, shows Catherine of Braganza under a canopy held by zephrys, as figures representing Envy and Sedition retreat before the outstretched Sword of Justice.  As in the Queen's Audience Chamber, the walls are hung with tapestries from the Gobelins factory's History of Esther series.  The busts include two by Roubiliac, of Handel and Field Marshal Ligonier, and two by Coysevoux, of Marshal Vauban and the Duke of Villars.  The magnificent marble fireplace, designed by Robert Adam for Buckingham House, incorporates a clock made by Vulliamy, featuring marble figures by John Bacon.

  • St George's Hall

    The Hall hosts state banquets, at the beginning of a State Visit, and is where the Knights of the Order of the Garter assemble each year before processing to St George's Chapel for their annual service.  The space is lined with portraits and busts of monarchs and other royal members of the Order of the Garter.  Paintings by Van Dyck, Sir Peter Lely, Sir Godfrey Kneller and Sir Thomas Lawrence hang above busts by Rysbrack, John Bacon and Sir Francis Chantry.

  • State Dining Room

    Originally intended as George IV's private dining room, the State Dining Room is now used for more official entertaining.  The gothic revival furniture was introduced as part of Wyatville's redesign in the 1820s.  As elsewhere at Windsor, it was produced by Morel & Seddon, partly to designs by the fifteen year-old A.W.N. Pugin.  The enormous porcelain vase, a gift to Queen Victoria from Tsar Nicholas I following the State Visit of 1844, is painted with views of the palaces of Peterhof and Tsarskoe Selo.  Another gift to Victoria from 1844 is the Sèvres mantel clock, given by King Louis-Phillippe.

  • Waterloo Chamber

    Built to celebrate the victory of the Allied forces at the Battle of Waterloo, the portraits that line this imposing room form something of a Who's Who of allied monarchs, statesmen and commanders involved in the defeat of Napoleon.  Many were undertaken by Sir Thomas Lawrence, the leading portraitist of the day, who travelled Europe to obtain sittings with the key figures.  As well as the monumental portrait of the Duke of Wellington, the room contains the portrait of Pope Pius VII, considered one of Lawrence's greatest works.  The Indian carpet, woven by the inmates of the Agra prison for Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1894, is thought to be the largest seamless carpet in existence.