Artwork - The Painted Chamber, 1799

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  • Title: The Painted Chamber, 1799
  • Artist: Mr William Capon
  • Date: 1817
  • Medium: Watercolour
  • Catalogue number: WOA 1648
  • Description: Capon executed many finely observed watercolours of the old Palace of Westminster. Inspired by a strong antiquarian interest, these works provide an invaluable record of the interior detailing of these medieval and later buildings, which no longer exist. Originally the Kings Great Chamber at the Palace of Westminster, used for ceremonies in connection with the State Opening of Parliament prior to its partial destruction during the fire of 1834, the \'Painted Chamber\' followed the completion of a comprehensive scheme of extremely fine quality wall paintings commissioned by King Henry III, which was begun in 1262 and took fifteen years to execute. Scenes from the Old Testament and symbolic figures, together with explanatory texts written in French, lined the walls, culminating in the coronation of Edward the Confessor which was painted above the Kings bed. Subsequently, the paintings were covered with limewash, and tapestries illustrating scenes from the Trojan War were hung on the walls. This was how Capon found the painted Chamber when he recorded its interior in his paintings of July 1799, of which this watercolour is a copy made by the artist some years later in 1817.

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