Sunday, August 29, 2010

Windsor Castle - 07/25/10

This is the largest inhabited castle in the world. Now a royal palace, this thousand year old structure originated as a fortress. It is one of the three principal residences of Queen Elizabeth II, the British Monarch. The other two are Buckingham Palace and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The castle was originally built by William the Conquerer who reigned from 1066 to 1087. His original site stood where the Round Tower now stands. It was his son King Henry I who first lived in the castle.

While here I visited the State Apartments, the Drawings Gallery, and Queen Mary's Dolls' House. I viewed King Henry VIII's gate, ate the Queen's ice cream, and took some footage of a marching guard. The apartments were quite ornate but I was most entrigued by the Queen's Dolls' House. The doll house was built in the early 1920's for Queen Mary who was the wife of King George V. It was designed by Lutyens and is a very realistic miniature house. It is filled with many artistic and crafty items of furnishings and many of the items in the house actually work. It showcases the very finest of decor including replicas of items in Windsor Castle, and the curtains, and carpets are also replicas. It is over 3 feet tall, and includes the products of well known companies of the era. The bathrooms are fully plumbed and I was astonished to learn that the toilets flush! Better than all this is the fact that several writers contributed to the display and supplied miniature books to fit the house. Some of these writers include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who specifically wrote a short story, " How Watson Learned the Trick" for the project, J.M. Barie, Thomas Hardy, and Rudyard Kipling. There were also painters who provided miniature pictures.

The Drawings Gallery had many great items on display including some of Leonardo da Vinci's works, Studies on Light and Studies on Water dated 1510. There were lots of Italian artists presented in the drawings, including drawings by Guercino. Views throughout the estate were beautiful, and unfortuneately I was unable to visit St. George's Chapel.


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