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The King’s Gallery

Gallery designed by William Kent to contain the finest paintings of the Royal Collection

Gallery designed by William Kent to contain the finest paintings of the Royal Collection

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing info

Included in palace admission

A striking residence for art

The largest and longest of the state apartments at Kensington Palace, the King's Gallery, looks almost exactly as it did when it was transformed for King George I in 1725.

Red damask, fine oak joinery, a new marble chimneypiece, carved overmantel and new door cases were inserted by William Kent. Kent and his assistants also painted the seven large ceiling canvases which show scenes from the life of Ulysses.

The King's Gallery was used for exercise as well as displaying pictures. At the east end, it is dominated by a copy of van Dyck’s noble portrait of Charles I on horseback.

Secrets of the King's Gallery at Kensington Palace

The gallery was built for William III as an addition to Sir Christopher Wren's original design. It was hung with green velvet and William would meet with his spies and plan military campaigns here.

This room saw many intimate moments. It was here that William played soldiers with his little nephew and intended heir, the Duke of Gloucester. It was also here that the King died from pneumonia after falling from his horse at Hampton Court Palace.

Staying one step ahead

The dial positioned over the gallery's fireplace was connected to a wind vane on the roof. This enabled King William to see which way the wind was blowing, where his navy was likely to be heading and when the posts were likely to arrive. Incredibly, it is still in working order today.

'I particularly like the way the map on the wind dial rather arrogantly shows Great Britain the same size of France. That was wishful thinking – of course it’s much smaller!'

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator

Explore what's on

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A Live Interpreter dressed as a Tudor Yeoman of the Guard, wearing a red livery coat with HR and Tudor Rose, and holding a halberd.

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Banqueting House

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