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Royal residences

A watercolour of The King's Gallery at Kensington, a luxury handcoloured version of one of the plates from William Henry Pyne's History of the Royal Residences (1816-1819). The King’s Gallery is the principal room on the second floor of the south-fa

Kensington Palace: The King’s Gallery ©

George I inherited a number of residences with the throne of Britain. In central London he could occupy St James’s and Kensington Palaces, and just outside the capital were Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace. All the early Hanoverians were active architectural patrons, their sensitivity for style making them pioneers of enlightened architecture. Frederick and Augusta, Prince and Princess of Wales, carried out work at Carlton House and Leicester House in central London and at Kew Palace to the south-west. Gardening, too, was an interest for Queen Caroline and Princess Augusta, who developed important landscape gardens at Richmond and Kew.

The favoured architect of the Hanoverian dynasty was William Kent (c.1685–1748), a former coach-painter who rose to become one of the most prolific and acclaimed of all British architects. Kent remodelled large parts of Kensington Palace, designed a library for Queen Caroline at St James’s Palace and created a landscape garden for Frederick, Prince of Wales, at Carlton House. Kent also provided furnishings for the new spaces he created in the residences.