SIGHT­SEE­ING

Visi­tors can soak in the splen­dour of Clarence House, the Lon­don home of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Corn­wall, this Au­gust, says Sarah Riches

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Take a peek in­side Clarence House, the royal res­i­dence that’s home to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Corn­wall.

Clarence House, the of­fi­cial Lon­don res­i­dence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Corn­wall, is open again for

sum­mer. De­signed by John Nash and built be­tween 1825 and 1827, the three-storey build­ing near Buck­ing­ham Palace on The Mall has been a royal home for 189 years – this is where Prince Charles spent his tod­dler years. The royal fam­ily also uses the house as a venue to re­ceive royal and po­lit­i­cal guests for sem­i­nars and of­fi­cial meals.

Vis­its take about an hour, which in­cludes a 45-minute guided tour that starts in the gar­den. While the base­ment and top three floors are off lim­its, visi­tors on the tours will be guided around the five rooms on the ground floor where of­fi­cial en­gage­ments take place – The Lan­caster Room, The Morn­ing Room, The Li­brary, The Din­ing Room and The Gar­den Room. Along the way you’ll see or­na­men­tal plas­ter­work, an­tique fur­ni­ture, sil­ver, porce­lain and 20th-cen­tury paint­ings by Gra­ham Suther­land.

Clarence House’s cu­ra­tor of paint­ings, Anna Reynolds, points out the tour’s high­lights. She says: ‘ Visi­tors can see un­usual paint­ings col­lected by Queen El­iz­a­beth the Queen

Mother, which rep­re­sent many of the best­known artists of the mod­ern pe­riod. These in­clude Monet’s 1889 Study­ofRocks and Paul Nash’s 1943 Land­scape of the Ver­nal Equinox, which hang in the light-filled Morn­ing Room, as well as paint­ings by Philip de Lás­zló, Wal­ter Sick­ert and Henri Fantin-La­tour.

‘A series of wa­ter­colour views of Wind­sor by John Piper hang in The Din­ing Room, com­mis­sioned dur­ing the war as a record of the cas­tle in case of bomb dam­age. These are presided over by a por­trait of Queen El­iz­a­beth wear­ing a se­quin-cov­ered ball gown, painted by Au­gus­tus John in 1939. Also on dis­play are im­por­tant Old Masters in­clud­ing Veronese’s Mys­tic Mar­riage of Saint Cather­ine, pre­sented to Charles II upon his restora­tion in 1660, and Bas­sano’s an­i­mal-packed Noah’sArk.’

At the end of the tour, you’ll have a chance to pop into the shop to buy china, jew­ellery and books as a me­mento of your visit. Clarence House, St James's Palace, SW1 1BA. T: 020-7766 7303. www.roy­al­col­lec­tion.org.uk

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