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An oil painting of a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria and Alexandra, Princess of Wales are returning to the Palace in an open carriage pulled by two grey horses; in the garden, on the left, the Prince of Wales is conversing to a couple in

Their history, form and function

Caleb Robert Stanley (1795-1868)

Buckingham Palace: gardens, lake and Garden Pavilion c. 1845

RCIN 919889

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It was during the reign of George IV that Buckingham House was transformed into Buckingham Palace. The gardens were entrusted to William Townsend Aiton, who was also responsible for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. The most significant remodelling of the garden that took place Aiton’s time was the creation of the lake and construction of the Mound.  Both of these projects were finished early in the reign of Queen Victoria under the supervision of head gardener George Wyness who was appointed in 1840.

This watercolour, made early in Queen Victoria’s reign, shows the finished lake being enjoyed by a wide variety of water birds. At the centre of the lake is an island and it has been suggested that the two figures depicted there are Victoria and Albert. Also visible at upper right of the watercolour is the Mound. This was a bank of land at the south of the garden which had been created to provide privacy in the garden from onlookers in the adjacent Royal Mews. One of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s greatest additions to the garden was a Garden Pavilion which sat on top of the mound.