It is two hundred years since the Battle of Waterloo. In commemoration, H.M. The Queen has opened Windsor Castle’s famous Waterloo Chamber to the public for a special exhibition of Waterloo-related artefacts from the Royal Collection. The exhibition opened on 31st January 2015 and will run for a year. Throughout 2015, visitors will be able to walk into and around the chamber for the first time.
The pieces on display, many of them acquired by George, Prince Regent (the future George IV), include contemporary prints, drawings, maps and ‘souvenirs’ from the battle.
Among these are Napoleon’s red cloak, made of felt and embroidered in silk with elaborate scrolls and arabesques around the hood and breast, was removed from the Emperor’s baggage train in the aftermath of the allied victory and presented to the Prince Regent by Field Marshal Blücher, who fought alongside the Duke of Wellington. Lined with yellow brocade, it is appliquéd with Napoleon’s Imperial Eagle.
Napoleon’s silver-gilt porringer, a small bowl used for food, was also taken from the Emperor’s train.
The Waterloo Chair, made from the elm tree that marked the Duke of Wellington’s command post on the Waterloo battlefield, was presented to George IV in 1821. Commissioned by John Children from Thomas Chippendale the Younger, it is carved with a lion trampling the vanquished French standard in the village of Waterloo. A drawing of the elm tree by Children’s daughter Anna, made during a visit to the battlefield with her father in 1818, will go on display for the first time.
The Table des Grands Capitaines (Table of the Great Commanders), commissioned by Napoleon to celebrate his victories, is decorated with the profile of Alexander the Great and other great generals and philosophers. Considered one the finest works of Sèvres porcelain ever produced, it never left the factory but was presented to George IV by the restored French king, Louis XVIII, in gratitude for the allied victory. The table appears in all of George IV’s state portraits, including the painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence which hangs in the Waterloo Chamber.
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