The viewer is positioned at the entrance to the quire and looks east towards the altar and the painted glass window that was installed in the 1780s, after designs by Benjamin West, R.A.. Either side of the chequered marble nave stand the Garter Knights’ intricately carved wooden stalls, and above each of these hangs a mighty banner, proudly displaying the coat of arms of the knight in question. In the nineteenth century the knights were positioned in order of seniority. A newly appointed knight would be installed at the east end but would move westwards, along with their banner and crest, as time went by. This procedure has now been abandoned, as the constant movement of the furnishings was found to be damaging the fragile stalls.
The present work shows the heraldic banner of, starting on the left from near to far: Alexander I, Tsar of Russia (appointed a Knight of the Garter in 1813); Francis II, Emperor of Austria (KG 1814); Ferdinand VII, King of Spain (KG 1814); Frederick VI, King of Denmark (KG 1822); John, Earl of Chatham (KG 1790); Frederick, Earl of Carlisle (KG 1793); John, Marquess Camden (KG 1799); Philip, Earl of Hardwicke (KG 1803); George, Earl of Pembroke (KG 1805); George, Marquess of Stafford (KG 1806); Richard, Marquess Wellesley (KG 1810); Francis, Marquess of Hastings (KG 1812); Arthur, Duke of Wellington (KG 1813); Henry, Earl Bathurst (KG 1817); Hugh, Duke of Northumberland (KG 1819); George, Marquess of Cholmondeley (KG 1822); Thomas, Marquess of Bath (KG 1823).
The banners on the right, from near to far, represent: Prince William, Duke of Gloucester (KG 1794); Louis XVIII, King of France (KG 1814); Frederick William III, King of Prussia (KG 1814); William I, King of the Netherlands (KG 1814); John VI, King of Portugal (KG 1823); Prince Leopold, later King of the Belgians (KG 1816); John, Earl of Westmorland (KG 1793); George, Earl Spencer (KG 1799); John, Duke of Rutland (KG 1803); Henry, Duke of Beaufort (KG 1805); George, Earl of Winchelsea (KG 1805); William, Earl of Lonsdale (KG 1807); James, Duke of Montrose (KG 1812); Henry, Duke of Newcastle (KG 1812); Robert, Earl of Liverpool (KG 1814); Henry, Marquess of Anglesey (KG 1818); Richard, Duke of Buckingham (KG 1820) and finally Francis, Marquess of Hertford (KG 1822).
Although this particular combination of Knights identifies the chapel as it was in 1823 or 1824, the present watercolour would seem to date to the early 1840s, a time when Haghe was occupied with his lithograph The Christening of HRH The Prince of Wales (1842). Perhaps, when it came to the heraldry, Haghe was content to rely on an as yet unidentified engraving, watercolour or painting.
We are grateful to David White, Somerset Herald in Ordinary, Patrick Noon and Professor Michael Twyman for their help when cataloguing this work.
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