Palace interiors

Palace interiors

Chapel of St John the Evangelist, Tower of London

Monarchs' tastes and interests have shaped how the palaces look today.

Medieval home furnishings

Kings and Queens made their mark on the palaces of their ancestors by re-decorating and re-furnishing them, or re-arranging the art collections. The medieval palace at the Tower of London probably contained the grandest furnishings available during the brief periods when Edward I or his Spanish wife Eleanor of Castile was in residence.  The Tower’s most spectacular contents would have been the royal wardrobe, including the jewels, and the arms and armour. 

William Kent: designer

George I brought in William Kent to re-decorate the interior of the palace of Kensington, as Kent had ousted the more traditional Sir James Thornhill from royal favour.  The conservative Board of Works were not pleased, saying that they had seen ‘very few worse’ specimens than Kent’s decorations for the Cupola Room.   Some of Kent’s most novel designs were for the Presence Chamber, where he used the ‘grotesque’ style of the Roman palaces, recently rediscovered on the Palatine Hill in Rome.      

A Baroque interior

 Meanwhile, at Hampton Court Palace, the Baroque interior decoration begun by William III in the King’s Apartments was completed by Anne and her successors.  Anne used Antonio Verrio to complete the wallpaintings in her Drawing Room, and the rest of the suite was fitted out by George II and his wife Caroline when they were Prince and Princess of Wales. 

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