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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

Joseph Nash (1809-78)

Castle and Terrace Garden published 1848

RCIN 817132.w

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This view, one of a series of twenty-five prints of ‘Views of the interior and exterior of Windsor Castle’ after watercolours by the artist Joseph Nash, shows the Castle and the East Terrace Garden around 1848. By this date, Queen Victoria had ascended the throne, and she and her husband Prince Albert had begun to make Windsor into a family home. Prince Albert was given the role of Ranger of the Great Park by the Queen, and he brought about improvements to the farms on the estate. He also laid out walks and made contributions to the design and planting of the Northern slopes in the pleasure grounds surrounding the East Terrace Garden. We know that Prince Albert had an input into the design of the flower beds within the East Terrace Garden, as Queen Victoria recorded in her journal entry for Thursday 12 December 1850:

We walked out together, & Albert is daily occupied, both going out & coming in, in superintending the planting of the garden in the inside of the Terrace. The plots were before so scrubby & scraggy, but are now being very nicely arranged with laurustinus, bays, &c


Landseer had his first interview to discuss this picture two months after the royal couple's marriage in 13 April 1840; at this stage the painting seems to have been planned as a happy sequel to Queen Victoria Riding Out (Royal Collection), which was exhi

Windsor Castle in modern times; Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and Victoria, Princess Royal ©

In a Guide Book to Windsor Castle from 1857 the garden is referred to as the ‘Sunk Garden’, and was described as Her Majesty’s private garden, however it was opened to visitors on particular occasions, as depicted in the Nash print, a contrast with the privacy sought by George IV.

The garden also formed the backdrop for an oil painting of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by Sir Edwin Landseer (RCIN 406903) shown here. The setting is the Green Drawing Room, with a view through an open window to the East Terrace Garden beyond.