Exhibition | Waterloo at Windsor: 1815–2015

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on January 5, 2015


The Waterloo Chamber, Windsor Castle, Photo by Mark Fiennes for the Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 2014

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Press release (4 November 2014) from the Royal Collection:

Waterloo at Windsor: 1815–2015
Windsor Castle, 31 January 2015 — January 2016

In 2015 a special themed visit at Windsor Castle—incorporating an exhibition, a trail, and a new multimedia tour through the State Apartments—will mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo and the peace that followed nearly 25 years of war between France, under the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, and the allied forces including those of Great Britain, Austria, Prussia, and Russia.

Throughout the State Apartments visitors will discover unique artefacts associated with Waterloo, including items that belonged to the defeated Emperor, trophies from the battlefield, and documents from the Royal Archives. The centrepiece of the visit is the magnificent Waterloo Chamber, commissioned by George, Prince Regent (the future George IV) as a lasting monument to the battle at the heart of Windsor Castle. Throughout 2015, the route will be extended allowing visitors to walk into and around the room, rather than viewing the room from either end.

For nearly a quarter of a century Napoleon fought his way across Europe. In 1814 he was finally defeated and imprisoned, but in February of the following year he escaped exile from the Italian island of Elba. In the 100 days that followed, Napoleon overthrew the newly-restored French king and gathered his troops, before facing the leader of the allied army, the Duke of Wellington, 13 kilometres south of Brussels at Waterloo.

The Waterloo Chamber

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1814-1815 courtesy Royal Collection Trust ©Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Sir Thomas Lawrence, Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, 1814–15, Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

This vast room, measuring nearly 30 by 14.5 metres, was created for the sole purpose of displaying portraits of the statesmen, politicians, diplomats, and military leaders who were responsible for the overthrow of Napoleon. Despite never seeing active service, the Prince Regent regarded himself as a key player in the victory. In celebration of Napoleon’s abdication in April 1814, he invited several of the allied leaders and commanders to London and commissioned Britain’s pre-eminent portraitist, Sir Thomas Lawrence, to paint those attending. After Napoleon’s final defeat at Waterloo, Lawrence travelled to the Congress of Peace at Aix-la-Chapelle, then to Vienna and finally to Rome to complete the series.

The Waterloo Chamber remained unfinished at George IV’s death and was completed by his successor, William IV, who wanted the room to be more a commemoration of the battle than a celebration of the diplomacy that saw peace brought to Europe. A further nine portraits were added to the Waterloo Chamber’s ‘hall of fame’ by William IV and in Queen Victoria’s reign, bringing the total to 38.

Lawrence’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington dominates the room. The national hero stands beneath a triumphal arch, holding aloft the Sword of State, symbolising the sovereign’s royal authority. Beside him on a ledge rests a baton and letter signed George P.R., signifying his promotion to Field Marshal and the gratitude of the Crown. Wellington is flanked by portraits of Count Platov, commander of the Cossack cavalry, and Field Marshal Blücher, the head of the Prussian forces—the 72-year-old was nicknamed ‘Marshal Forwards’ because of his eagerness in battle. Lawrence’s portrait of Pope Pius VII, who was instrumental in the peace negotiations, is considered to be among the artist’s finest works. Imprisoned by Napoleon for many years, the Pope became a figurehead for the political and cultural regeneration of Europe after his release in 1814.

The Exhibition

Bringing together material from the Royal Collection and Royal Archives, the exhibition covers the days preceding the battle to the aftermath of conflict. Prints and drawings record the military action, devastated buildings and burial of casualties, as well as the celebration of victory. Public curiosity about Napoleon was fed by popular prints, such as those produced by the caricaturist Thomas Rowlandson.

Highlights of the Trail

Sevres porcelain factory, 1806–12, Hard-paste porcelain, gilt bronze mounts, internal wooden frame structure. Tables des Grands Capitaines, gifted to George, Prince Regent by the restored French king, Louis XVIII, 1806-1812, courtesy Royal Collection Trust ©Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014.

Sevres porcelain factory, 1806–12, Hard-paste porcelain, gilt bronze mounts, internal wooden frame structure. Tables des Grands Capitaines, gifted to George, Prince Regent by the restored French king, Louis XVIII, courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

George IV and his successors were avid collectors of works of art and souvenirs relating to the defeated Emperor. Napoleon’s cloak, taken from his fleeing carriage in the aftermath of the battle and later presented to George IV by Field Marshal Blücher, will be on display in the Castle’s Grand Vestibule. Made of red felt and lined with yellow silk brocade, it is appliquéd with Napoleon’s Imperial Eagle in silver thread. The cloak will be shown with other items removed from the Emperor’s baggage train, including Napoleon’s silver-gilt porringer—a small bowl used for food.

The Table des Grands Capitaines (Table of the Great Commanders, 1806–12), which will be on display in the King’s Drawing Room, was commissioned by Napoleon to immortalise his reign. Among the finest works ever produced by the Sèvres factory, it is decorated with the profile of Alexander the Great, the supreme military leader of antiquity, and other great commanders and philosophers. The table never left the factory and, after Napoleon’s final defeat, was presented to George IV by the restored French king, Louis XVIII, in gratitude for the allied victory. It was
one of George IV’s most prized possessions and
appears in his State portrait and in the painting by
Lawrence in the Waterloo Chamber.

New Book | Memoirs of the Court of George III

Posted in books by Editor on January 5, 2015

From Pickering & Chatto:

Michael Kassler, Lorna Clark, Alain Kerhervé, and Peter Sabor, eds., Memoirs of the Court of George III, 4 vols., (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2015), c.1600 pages, ISBN: 978-1848934696, £350 / $625.

George IIIGeorge III was one of the longest reigning British monarchs, ruling over most of the English-speaking world from 1760 to 1820. Despite his longevity, George’s reign was one of turmoil. Britain lost its colonies in the War of American Independence and the European political system changed dramatically in the wake of the French Revolution. Closer to home, problems with the King’s health led to a constitutional crisis. Charlotte Papendiek’s memoirs cover the first thirty years of George III’s reign, while Mary Delany’s letters provide a vivid portrait of her years at Windsor. Lucy Kennedy was another long-serving member of court whose previously unpublished diary provides a great deal of new detail about the King’s illness. Finally, the Queen herself provides further insights in the only two extant volumes of her diaries, published here for the first time.

The edition will be invaluable to scholars of Georgian England as well as those researching the French and American Revolutions and the history and politics of the Regency period more widely. It will complement the ongoing project, The Court Journals and Letters of Frances Burney (OUP).

• All texts are first-hand accounts from those close to George III and relate information on important events, including the American and French Revolutions and the King’s ‘madness’
• Two volumes are editions of previously unpublished manuscripts
• All the texts are rare and Queen Charlotte’s diaries are newly transcribed from the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle
• Editorial apparatus includes a general introduction, volume introductions, headnotes, footnotes and indexes to the texts

General Editor: Michael Kassler, Independent scholar
Volume Editor: Lorna J Clark, Carleton University
Volume Editor: Alain Kerhervé, University of Western Brittany
Consultant Editor: Peter Sabor, McGill University

Volume 1
The Memoirs of Charlotte Papendiek (1765–1840): Court, Musical and Artistic Life in the Time of King George III
Mrs Papendiek’s Memoirs record events at court from 1761—when the future Queen Charlotte came to England to marry King George—until 1792. The Papendieks knew many musicians, including John Christian Bach (son of Johann Sebastian), William Herschel (who became an astronomer) and Haydn. The memoirs also record meetings with artists of the day, such as Thomas Lawrence and Thomas Gainsborough. They are a unique resource, recording significant information about living conditions, dress, education and Anglo-German relations.

Volume 2
Mary Delany (1700–1788) and the Court of George III
Though she failed to become a handmaiden to Queen Anne, Mary Delany went on to become a figure at Court, eventually lodging at Windsor. This new edition of her correspondence during her years at Windsor presents previously unpublished letters as well as applying modern standards of editorial principles to her correspondence. The letters show the daily rituals of living at Court, document the first social steps of Fanny Burney and Mary Georgina Port, and supply new information on the family life of the royal family – including material on the assassination attempt against George III by Margaret Nicholson.

Volume 3
The Diary of Lucy Kennedy (1793–1816)
Lucy Kennedy (c.1731–1826), had an insider’s view of life in Windsor castle and of members of the Royal Family for fifty-three years. Her diary, preserved in the Royal Library, Windsor Castle, has never before been published. In it she writes a moving account of the death of Princess Amelia which precipitated the final illness of George III and the Regency. Her observations of his symptoms are relevant for modern-day diagnoses of his malady.

Volume 4
The Diary of Queen Charlotte, 1789 and 1794
Queen Charlotte kept a diary in which she recorded her daily activities as well as those of George III and other members of the royal family. Only her volumes for 1789 and 1794 survive, in the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle. Her 1789 diary shows how the king’s illness and recovery impacted upon their lives. Both diary volumes provide hitherto unpublished information about court life and the royal family.

New Journal | Royal Studies Journal

Posted in Calls for Papers, journal articles by Editor on January 5, 2015

We are delighted to announce that the first issue of the Royal Studies Journal is out now. This issue features articles by Carole Levin, Cinzia Recca, and Nadia van Pelt as well as six book reviews of recent publications in the field of royal studies.

The Royal Studies Journal is a peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary and international journal for the field of Royal Studies and will be published twice a year. Articles can be submitted in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and German, although English is preferred. Book reviews will also be featured. Shorter notices, news items, and conference reports will be on our official blog.

Please visit our website to find out more about the journal and how to submit articles to the RSJ. If you wish to contact us with any queries about the journal, suggestions of upcoming/recent works in the field to review or the submissions process, please email us at info.rsj@winchester.ac.uk.

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Royal Studies Journal 1.1 (2014)

Carole Levin, “Elizabeth’s Ghost: The Afterlife of the Queen in Stuart England”
Cinzia Reccia, “Maria Carolina and Marie Antoinette: Sisters and Queens in the Mirror of Jacobin Public Opinion”
Nadia Therese van Pelt, “Teens and Tudors: The Pedagogy of Royal Studies”

Book Reviews
Carey Fleiner, “Review: Lott, Death and Dynasty in Early Imperial Rome
Stephen Donnachie, “Review: Perry, John of Brienne: King of Jerusalem
Sean McGlynn, “Review: Richardson, The Field of Cloth of Gold
Elena Woodacre, “Review: Cruz and Galli (eds.), Early Modern Hapsburg Women
Estelle Paranque, “Review: Knecht, Hero or Tyrant? Henri III, King of France
Charlotte Backerra, “Review: Aikin, A Ruler’s Consort in Early Modern Germany

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