A Hampton Court personality
Trained in Italy, Verrio painted grand scenes for ceilings and staircases in many country houses and in royal palaces for Charles II and for William III.
Antonio Verrio painted five rooms in William III's Apartments; the King’s Staircase, the Kings Great Bedchamber, the Banqueting House, the King's Little Bedchamber and the Queen's Drawing Room.
The King's Staircase is probably the most elaborate example of Verrio's work. In the scheme for the staircase Verrio showed William III in triumphal mode, dominating a group of Roman emperors who represent the King's Catholic enemies, as well as a banquet of the Gods denoting the peace and plenty William had brought.
In later years some of the scenes Verrio painted inside Hampton Court’s Banqueting House were regarded as being indecent and one hundred years ago an occupant of the palace apartments asked that they be painted over. Luckily this request wasn't obliged, but instead large pieces of furniture were placed in front of the naked nymphs.
Verrio had two phases in his painting career. In between them, he worked as James II’s gardener.