Monday, December 24, 2012

Queen Victoria's Wedding (Part 22): The Throne Room of St. James's Palace

Victoria & Albert in the Throne Room at St. James's Palace
Illustration from The Life and Times of Queen Victoria,
by Robert Wilson (Cassell, 1893).
This is a licensed image, used with permission for this site only.
To purchase your own license for this photo, visit Look and Learn.
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

As Prince Albert and Queen Victoria entered the Throne Room of St. James’s Palace, they made their way directly to the attestation table. Prominently positioned in majestic room, the massive table with its claw-footed legs made of Egyptian leonine gold was fashioned expressly for this exalted occasion. {Willmore, p. 67}

Queen Victoria took her place between the table and the fireplace, which featured a white “chimney piece” introduced at some prior date by the Duke of Wellington. Across the front portion hung a simple wood garland, possibly carved by 16th century master wood carver Grinling Gibbons. {Sheppard, p. 131}

Following her lead, the entire royal party assembled themselves around the table in the imposing room decorated entirely in crimson, white, and gold. To the left of the table a single throne of gold and crimson velvet stood regally upon its platform of three steps with a canopy of crimson velvet embroidered in gold lace with the Royal arms and crowns and set with fine pearls. {Sheppard, p. 131}

Edgar Sheppard, writing in 1894, gives some idea of the exquisite pieces that might have been displayed during the reign of Queen Victoria, though some of these may have been added later. He describes “two magnificent red porphyry ovated vases” mounted as tripods in ormolu, an application of finely ground gold and mercury applied to bronze. {p. 131}

Resting upon deep cherry red marble pedestals were two pairs of bronze and ormolu lights. A second pair of serpentine vases made in the 18th century rested upon ormolu mounts. Beneath the enormous red and ormolu chandelier, I can think of no better setting for the august signing of the registry. {Sheppard, p. 131}

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