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Morel & Seddon

Morel & Seddon were the principal suppliers of furniture and furnishings to George IV (1762–1830) during his extensive refurbishment Windsor Castle, 1827–30. Their lavish interior decoration helped re-establish Windsor as both the principal seat of the British monarchy and the leading example of the national style. To achieve this, Morel & Seddon repurposed fine French and English eighteenth-century furniture from George IV's previous residence, Carlton House, as well as supplying new pieces in styles ranging from late Empire to Gothic Revival.

The French cabinet-maker and upholsterer Nicholas Morel (fl.1790–1830) had first worked for George IV when he was Prince of Wales, supplying furniture to both Carlton House and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton in the 1790s. In July 1826 he was appointed to furnish the new royal apartments at Windsor Castle, which were then being remodelled by Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Morel dissolved his old partnership with Robert Hughes (fl. 1805–30) and in 1827 went into business with George Seddon (1769–1857), whose well-established family firm was probably the only one large enough to cope with this immense commission.

In all, Morel & Seddon furnished 59 rooms at Windsor Castle. To plan how the king's existing furniture would be re-used, the partners worked partly from a 'Pictorial Inventory' made up of 214 coloured drawings of objects made by the office of A.C. Pugin. Today, this forms an invaluable record of the furnishings at George IV's previous residences. Morel & Seddon then drew up a series of 'miniature designs' for the king showing their intended schemes of curtains, upholstery and furniture. The surviving designs, most of which are in the Royal Collection, are an outstanding record of the grandest of late Georgian taste in interior decoration.

Morel & Seddon also supplied new furnishings for Windsor, ranging from armchairs, bookcases and cabinets to wall hangings and candelabra. In the process, they collaborated with some of the finest craftsmen and designers of the day, including the Parisian cabinet-maker, F.H.G. Jacob-Desmalter, and A.W.N. Pugin. After three years, the partners produced a bill for their work which came to £203,963 6s 8d – the largest sum ever devoted to a single furnishing scheme in this country. However, a Parliamentary Select Committee strongly criticised the way the commission had been supervised, and dramatically reduced the sum to be paid.

Today, most of the surviving furnishing designed or supplied by Morel & Seddon remains in its original setting at Windsor.