Friday, 9 December 2011

Victorian Christmas recreated at Windsor Castle



I am fascinated by the Victorian era.
It is a time in History when everything seemed possible, when lives were feeling warm and bright, and great things were accomplished in all matters of human life. I also love its style and most of all I admire Queen Victoria herself. What a remarkable lady she was! She ruled over a quarter of the Eart's population for 64 years, but she shaped the entire century and, dare I say, more.
Now, Queen Victoria’s Christmas has been recreated at Windsor Castle.
 The royal residence at Windsor Castle has been transformed with decorations Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert would have recognised for The Victorian Christmas exhibtion. 
Visitors will see how the Queen and Prince Albert celebrated Christmas with their young family as the State Dining Room and Octagon Dining Room are transformed with the tree, a display of Victorian festive dining – and a reconstruction of the couple’s Christmas gift tables.
Queen Charlotte, the German-born wife of George III, is credited with introducing the Christmas tree, but it was Albert who popularised it, presenting large numbers to schools and Army barracks. When a print was published in 1848 showing the royal family around the festive emblem, its use escalated throughout society.



The exhibition will feature a tree hanging in place of a chandelier, as in Victoria’s day, in the Octagon dining room. The artificial tree will be covered with items inspired by decorations featured on the Queen’s firs including swags – ornamental drapery – ribbons, replica candles and imitation snow. 
 While most people open their presents on Christmas Day, the Royal Family still keep to the German practice of unwrapping their gifts on Christmas Eve. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other royals usually congregate in the White Drawing Room at Sandringham House around a 20ft tree, cut from the estate, and nearby is a white linen covered trestle table laden with gifts. 


 At Windsor two gift tables will be recreated with presents exchanged by Victoria and Albert.
 In the Castle’s State Dining Room, the table will be laid for a Victorian Christmas feast with a magnificent porcelain dessert service by Minton of Staffordshire. Known as the Victoria Service, the set was purchased by the Queen at the Great Exhibition in 1851 and includes four porcelain figures of the four seasons, ice pails, cream and bon-bon dishes, and a pair of silver-gilt sauceboats shaped like sleighs. 
 During Christmas 1860 a visitor to Windsor described the “mighty sight” of 50 turkeys being roasted in the great kitchen, a huge baron of beef and a woodcock pie of 100 birds presented to the Queen each Christmas by the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. 
 The Victorian Christmas displays at Windsor Castle will be on show until January 8. 
 For more information visit The Royal Collection. Also read Elizabeth Longford's authoritative Queen Victoria . I also love Jerold Packard's Victoria's Daughters.  

love, Irene

1 comment:

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Thanks for the peep into this exhibition of a Victorian Christmas at Windsor castle.

Add some sparkle!

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