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Kerry Taylor Auctions have a bumper bundle of interesting lots for their next scheduled auction, which will be held on the 3rd December 2013. The first lot that is of note is a set of 18th century wig bellows, Lot 41.
They bear, as you can plainly see, the cypher of King George III, and date from circa 1775.
They are made of mahogany with leather sides and have an ivory tip. They are painted in gold with a crown and the cypher “GR III, 16cm” and measure 6 1/4in long. They would have been used by the king’s valet, as Kerry Taylor tells us:
to administer tinted, scented powder to the wig before it was placed on the Royal head. Wig bellows are rare and Royal ones especially so.
Quite so. The estimate is between £1000-1500. Fascinating.
The next lot to be of interest to us is Lot 46,
a fine broderie anglaise summer gown, circa 1815-20. It has an empire-line bodice,
a skirt hem and sleeve sides trimmed and inset with cutwork lace, cotton tassels and tufts.
The lot also includes a whitework sprigged cotton empire line skirt.
The estimate for this lot is between £800-1200
And finally some garters, dating from the 1820s.
Made of printed and painted satin, they are embellished with scenes which include that of boys and girls at play with dogs, and a girl feeding chickens.
The estimate for this lot, Lot 40 , is between £500-900. I confess…I’d love them ;)
Kew Palace-once known as the Dutch House because of its building style- you can see the Dutch Gables in the roof, above- is a fascinating place to visit. It has had associations with the royal family since the early 18th century, and is now well known as the home of George III and Queen Charlotte who lived there occasionally (and at nearby White Lodge, Richmond) while a new palace at Kew, designed by Wyatt was being built. Sadly, this fantastical building was never completed, but the Dutch House- now known as Kew Palace- survives. Here is a rather famous portrait of George III’s father, Frederick Prince of Wales, and his sisters with Kew Palace in the distance:
George III’s last visit to what is now called Kew Palace was in 1806 when he stopped there to dine on the way to Windsor. Queen Charlotte actually died there in November 1818 : she had to take refuge there when becoming ill on the way to Windsor. This was the last time the palace was fully occupied, and as a result it became a sort of time capsule of life in a small but royal country home at the beginning of the 19th century.
The Palace was restored and opened to the public in 2006, and I’ve since been lucky enough to visit it. But this year the kitchens at the Dutch House have been opened to the public for the first time and I am hoping to visit them in the next few months. They have been renovated to recreate a specific day: the 6th February 1789, which was the day that George III was allowed to regain the use of knives and forks when eating, after his first acute episode of madness, for as he was no longer considered a danger to himself and to others.
I thought you might like to see some of the interesting videos the Royal Historic Palaces team have produced to explain the kitchens. Here is their introductory video:
This is a fascinating video about the 18th century kitchen, and the scullery and how they were restored, and the decisions the curator, Lee Prosser, and to make along the way:
This video explains the type of cookery that took place in the kitchen especially on the great roasting range (which is a rare survivor) and in the bread ovens:
Two of the Georgian dishes served to George III on 6th February 1789 have been adapted for modern kitchens and ingredients and you can see how to make therm here: first, a Rich Chocolate Tart:
You can download the recipe as a PDF file, here. A second video is also available to watch, how to make Soupe Barley:
You can download a PDF file of the recipe, here
A video and recipe sheet for a third dish, Mutton Smoured in a Frying Panne, will be published soon, but some other dishes served at the King’s table are available to read, here.
Teh kitchen garden has also been restored,and here is a picture of it courtesy of the RHP Twitter feed:
This is, I am sure you will agree, a fascinating project. The great Tudor Kitchens at Hampton Court have long been on the tourist trail and Victorian kitchens are a staple of many country houses open to the public. But Georgian examples are rare, as they were so often modernised when new innovations took place. I can’t wait to be able to report to you about this place in person but in the meantime I hope you enjoy these videos and recipes ;)