L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Prince Albert and the Blue Room, Windsor Castle

When Prince Albert was taken with the illness that would all too soon prove fatal, he was moved from the bedroom he shared with the Queen and put into the Blue Room, which was made into his sickroom. Adjoining the White Drawing Room, one of the grand salons of Windsor Castle's Private Apartments, the Blue Room was named for the blue silk damask wall coverings and matching curtains which hung there.

Albert, the Prince Consort, on his deathbed.

After the death of Prince Albert, at ten minutes to eleven, on the evening of December 14th, 1861, Queen Victoria ordered that nothing in the room would be changed, that it would remain a shrine to his memory. Fresh flowers and memorial wreaths were kept in the room at all times.  But also, his dressing gown and fresh clothes were laid out each evening on his bed, and a jug of steaming hot water was placed on his washstand.  Even the glass from which he had taken his last dose of medicine was kept on the table beside his bed.  And on his writing table, his pen rested upon his open blotting book, always ready for the grasp of the Prince's fingers.  All remained in this suspended state for more than forty years.

The ceiling was painted with angels and stars after Prince Albert's death, but otherwise everything remained as it had been during his last hours.
This watercolor and the one above are by William Corden the Younger (1819-1900), 1868.

By the end of the nineteenth century, though, the fabric furnishings had become faded and frayed - even rotted - and needed to be replaced. During the Queen's absence, and carried out in the greatest secrecy, the hangings were replaced with new silk that had been carefully faded to match the originals. This subterfuge was attempted with the hopeful knowledge of Queen Victoria's greatly diminished eyesight; thankfully for all, she never noticed. After her son succeeded her, as Edward VII, he had the room completely redecorated to serve as his study.

The poor state of the room's fabrics prior to the refurbishment can be assessed by that of the silk covering of the bedstead.


The bust of the Prince by Baron Carlo Marochetti (1805-68) was placed in the room; Marochetti also sculpted both
of the beautiful funeral effigies of the Prince Consort and the Queen that lie in the Royal Mausoleum at Frogmore.

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