From the guidebook:

The King’s Grand Staircase was originally built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1689 in a similar style to the Queen’s Staircase. It was made of oak, and had plain panelled walls. When a new Guard Chamber (no longer surviving) was built at the foot of the stairs in 1692-3 the staircase was remodelled in marble, in a grander style.

The walls above the staircase are painted with impressive murals. It was impossible for me to get a photograph because there were so many visitors stopping to enjoy the paintings which are in the manner of Italian 16th-century illusionist painting.

The perspective was designed to appear correct to a visitor as he mounted the staircase, which was the original approach to the King’s Apartments.

On the upper part of the north wall (facing the landing), and part of the east, Kent painted an arcaded gallery crowded with members of George I’s court.

The King's Grand Staircase

The ceiling is designed to give the impression of a dome with balustraded openings, from which more onlookers gaze down upon the staircase. the group on the south side is made up of musicians, while that on the north includes Kent himself with his mistress, Elizabeth Butler, and two of his assistants.

My photograph doesn’t really do it justice.


14 Comments CherryPie on Feb 11th 2010

14 Responses to “Kensington – The King’s Grand Staircase”

  1. Sean Jeating says:

    I wonder who is having the pleasure to polish the banister. :)

  2. Yvonne says:

    Beautiful design and a great amount of history on those stairs.

  3. Claudia says:


  4. Ginnie says:

    Are you talking about THE Kensington, CP? We were in London the week of the Queen Mum’s death when all the famous palaces were closed. Sigh. We watched the funeral on the big screen off center court at Wimbledon, which I’ll never forget. Maybe one day we’ll have a chance to go back and see this! It’s beautiful.

    • CherryPie says:

      Yes Ginnie The Kensington. How disappointing for you to be visiting London when the palaces were closed. I should imagine it was quite something to see the funeral like that though.

  5. MTG says:

    Give a thought to the decorator’s suffering arms maintaining that beautiful ceiling.

  6. kath says:

    LOVE the metal work up the stairs, there are some lovely exapmles in the V & A.

    • CherryPie says:

      We went to the V&A later. I saw a few of the ironworks there but didn’t have enough time to go and look at them properly. A good excuse for going back :-)

  7. Phidelm says:

    Nearly a quarter of a century in London, & I never managed a visit … so very glad of your excellent posts. I love English baroque – it has a pared-down austerity that makes it more elegant than exuberant (here, the style’s florid & confusing to the eye – or it is to mine!). Beautiful, & well done getting such good pix in what must have been difficult light/conditions.