Kensington Palace, London.
Kensington Palace, London, forms part of Historic Royal Palaces. It has been a Royal Palace since 1689 when it was adapted from Nottingham House by Sir Christopher Wren for William III and Mary II, for which they paid £20,000.
Nottingham House stood at the heart of Kensington which was further remodelled by George I and features paintings by William Kent. His son George II was to be the last monarch to reign at Kensington. The palace was saved from demolition by Queen Victoria who decried that the house she was born in would not face this end and in 1897 restoration works were carried out.
Today, Kensington Palace continues to be home to members of the royal family and has most recently become the London residence of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Humphries Weaving has been involved in weaving silk fabrics seen in many of the grand state rooms.
The King’s State Apartments, Presence & Privy Chamber
The Presence Chamber is the first in a procession of rooms in the King’s State Apartments, each room building in grandeur. This room saw host to guests that were invited to bow to the King and kiss his hand. The Privy Chamber follows on, a room filled with tapestries with a magnificent hand painted ceiling by William Kent.
The most recent restoration of these rooms was completed in 2014, where Humphries Weaving produced narrow woven crimson pure silk damask for wall coverings and window drapes. The colour was taken from the earlier weaving of silks for the King’s Drawing Room and King’s Gallery. Versions of the same design can be seen at Hampton Court Palace and the Palace of Versailles.
Project reference: 2368
The King’s State Apartments, The King’s Drawing Room
The King’s Drawing Room was where parties were held, attended by courtiers who longed for the chance to meet the king and take positions of power and influence. The king would rise from his adjoining bedchamber to meet with a select few of his guests.
Wall coverings and window drapes in narrow width crimson pure silk damask were manufactured by Humphries Weaving. The crimson shade was taken from the silks in the King’s Gallery and versions of the same design can be seen at Hampton Court Palace and the Palace of Versailles.
Project references: 1438 / 1455
The King’s State Apartments, The King’s Gallery
The King’s Gallery is the largest and final room in the King’s State Apartment procession. The walls were adorned with green velvet upon completion in 1700. Later the room was transformed by William Kent in 1727 for George I, where the green velvet was replaced by crimson damask.
Richard Humphries hand drew the design for this and other rooms in the King’s state apartments. He was challenged to take the design from remaining fragments of cloth from George II travelling bed at Hampton Court Palace. A version of this design can also be seen at the Palace of Versailles. The shade of crimson used is attributed to the George II travelling bed. Silk damask was woven narrow width for wall hangings and window drapes.
Project references: 1300 / 1301 / 1304 / 1305
The Queen’s Dress Collection, Brabourne Suite
Fabric was woven by Humphries Weaving for the Brabourne Suite.
A silk tissue on black ground with gold, green and crimson figuring in a design is thought to have been originated by Owen Jones. It was used to upholster the neo-Empire Brabourne suite. There is a document of this weaving in the Warner Textile Archive, and in the V&A Textile Collection.
At the time of weaving, the Brabourne Suite was situated at Kensington Palace and was resituated to Hillsborough Castle following the extensive restoration of 2019.
Project Reference: 645
The Queen’s Dress Collection, Guilt Sofas
Humphries Weaving produce fabric for a second suite of furniture in The Queen’s Dress Collection.
A silk and cotton deep crimson broadloom damask used for upholstery on gilt sofas. Originally woven in Spitalfields by Bailey & Jackson; a version of the design can be seen at Charlecote Park (National Trust) Warwickshire There are versions of this design at the Victoria and Albert Museum and also the Warner Textile Archive.
Project References: 644 / 1105