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The Victoria & Albert Museum
Queen Victoria admired the decoration executed in 1850 for the Emperor Napoleon III in his French palaces. Of course, Victoria wanted to “keep up with the Royal Joneses” and ordered a scheme of redecoration for Windsor Castle that would compete with Napoleon’s ambitious new décor. She commissioned a local department store, Caley Brothers of Windsor, to supply examples of textiles.
These four textile samples were chosen by Caley Brothers as a proposed set of new grand draperies for Windsor castle. The green ribbed silk was used for the main body of the curtains while the figured silk ribbon (with the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland and the shamrock of Ireland) in green and white was used to trim the vertical edges of the curtains and the green silk fringe for other edges. The drapes were to be lined with the shiny green silk taffeta.
A handwritten label originally attached to one of the samples states:
“Supplied to Queen Victoria for curtains at Windsor Castle.”
The London interior decorating firm of Colefax & Fowler was employed to work on schemes for the castle based on these fabric choices. A similar motif was ultimately used for the new draperies.