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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

John Norden (c. 1547-1625)

A Description of the Honor of Windesor 1607

RCIN 1142252

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Detail from RCIN 1142252 ©

Norden’s birds-eye view of Windsor Castle from the north, created at the beginning of the seventeenth century, provides us with the first visual representation of the area we now call the Moat Garden situated around the Round Tower.

Detail from RCIN 805330 ©

As the detail from Norden's manuscript image shows, the slopes have been given a green watercolour wash and plants have been represented at intervals. Part of the dry moat was in use as a tennis court.

Towards the end of the century, the slopes of the Round Tower were formally laid out with plant or flower beds, as depicted here, in the detail from a print by Wencelaus Hollar (RCIN 805330), this time showing the Round Tower from the south. Such rows of beds were agricultural in origin, designed for easy access for sowing seeds and growing plants.