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Joseph Nash (1809-78)

The Grand Corridor, Windsor Castle dated 1846

Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil | 33.0 x 41.5 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 919781

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A watercolour showing a lady and a small girl approaching down the Grand Corridor at Windsor Castle, possibly intended to represent the Queen with Princess Alice.

The Grand Corridor, constructed by Jeffry Wyatville on the east and south sides of the Upper Ward between 1824 and 1828, was George IV's most extensive and novel addition to the castle. It was 137 metres long and 4.6 metres broad, providing a new means of access to the adjacent royal and visitors' apartments and, more significantly, a place for the King to display some of the choicest paintings, furniture and objets d'art in his collection. It has remained little changed to this day.

The views of the Corridor by Joseph Nash, painted eighteen years after it was completed, provide the earliest visual evidence of George IV's decorative scheme and arrangement of contents. The latter was devised with the help of two of the King's favourite artists, the painter Sir David Wilkie and the sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey. The sculpture - chiefly busts - was chosen to commemorate British monarchs, historical personages, friends and contemporaries. The paintings included a magnificent group of Venetian views by Canaletto, Zuccarelli and the Riccis, purchased from Consul Smith by George III; some of Frederick, Prince of Wales's hunting pictures by Wootton; and a selection of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century portraits. The picture frames were either specially made or carefully adapted to suit this new setting. The furniture included an outstanding group of Boulle, a number of clocks, several examples of English giltwood, oriental lacquer, Indian ebony chairs, and modern oak stools and benches in the Gothic style (designed by A.W.N. Pugin), together with a rich selection of cabinet bronzes and objets d'art.

The decoration, carried out by Morel & Seddon, included the provision of forty-one pairs of curtains made of red and cream 'English tapestry' (also used on the seat furniture), a red Gothic-pattern carpet and forty-nine yellow scagliola pedestals for the busts. Lighting was provided by forty-two gilded iron torchères in the Gothic style, also designed by the younger Pugin. The richness of the contents made - and continues to make - a striking contrast with Wyatville's restrained Gothic detailing, which suggests something of the character of a Tudor long gallery.

Signed and dated Joseph. Nash. 1846

Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002