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Peter Vandrebanc (1649–1697) after Antonio Verrio (c. 1639-1707)

The ceiling of the King's Presence Chamber c.1682-6

Etching | 55.4 x 52.0 cm | RCIN 700584

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An etching of the ceiling of the King's Presence Chamber, painted by Antonio Verrio. Though the precise iconographic scheme was not recorded, George Bickham, in Deliciae Britannicae (1742), explained the ceiling of the King's Presence Chamber as 'Mercury [...] with the Portrait of Charles IId, in his Hands, shewing it, with Transport, as it were, to the View of the four Quarters of the World.' The entry in John Evelyn's diary for 3 September 1685 records his great pleasure at a visit to St George's Hall, Windsor Castle. It had been completed only the previous year. This, and the adjoining space, the King's Chapel, were designed to be the most impressive and important spaces in the new State Apartments recast by Hugh May. From 1675 to 1684, Verrio painted 12 rooms and three staircases in the King's State Apartment, and six rooms and the Great Stairs in the Queen's State Apartment. The iconographic programme, common to decorative shemes commissioned for most continental European baroque palaces, uncompromisingly celebrated the quasi-divine status of the prince or monarch. At Windsor, Verrio went further and placed Charles II himself as the great saviour. Text adapted from Charles II: Art & Power, London, 2017