Gallery designed by William Kent to contain the finest paintings of the Royal Collection
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
The King's 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.
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
- Things to see
Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace.
- Open Wednesday - Sunday
- In line with palace opening hours
- Kensington Palace
- Included in palace admission (members go free)
These official gifts and souvenirs are all inspired by Kensington Palace's rich royal stories, past and present.
Treat yourself to timeless pearls and stylish sapphire jewellery inspired by the royals who have lived in Kensington Palace.