Kensington Palace Art, Architecture and Society Olivia Fryman, Sebastian Edwards, Joanna Marschner, Deirdre Murphy, Lee Prosser

Publication date:
30 Oct 2018
Paul Mellon Centre
392 pages: 289 x 248mm
448 color + b-w illus.
Sales territories:

Go behind the scenes of generations of the British royal family, exploring both the glamour and domestic life inside the spectacular 300‐year-old Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is renowned for its architecture, splendid interiors, internationally important collections, and, of course, its royal residents. This lavish book thoroughly explores Kensington’s physical beauty and its history, presenting new material drawn from archives, newspapers, personal letters, images, and careful analysis of the building itself. Originally a fashionable Jacobean villa, Kensington was dramatically rebuilt in 1689 by Christopher Wren for the newly crowned monarchs, William III and Mary II. The palace became the favored London home of five sovereigns, yet also survived fires, partial collapse, bombings, and periods of neglect. Queen Victoria recognized the national significance of her birthplace and childhood home, turning the palace into her own memorial as well as a home for members of her extended family and their descendants. With over 450 illustrations, including specially commissioned reconstructions and historic plans, this volume explores the personal tastes and fashions of the British monarchy over the course of 300 years and provides insight into the 20th- and 21st-century royal family’s domestic life.

Olivia Fryman is curator at the Chitra Collection, London, and was an assistant curator at the Royal Collection Trust and Historic Royal Palaces. 

“This beautiful, easy to read, volume of history is a book anyone would love to own” —Wendy Lipke, Queensland Reviewers Collective

Kensington Palace gathers a sumptuous array of photographs, sketches and oil paintings of the 300-year old stately building complex.” — Ian Thomson, Evening Standard

“This compelling upstairs-downstairs history of the 'home for homeless royals' is lavishly illustrated with architectural drawings, state beds, artworks from the Royal Collection, and a near-psychedelic (for 1749) depiction of fireworks over the Thames at Whitehall.” — Apollo, Off the Shelf

Kensington Palace: Art, Architecture and Society is, as one would expect from a Yale University publication, an erudite account of the history and royal residents who have lived there” – Robert Golden, Majesty

“Kensington Palace: Art, Architecture and Society, [. . .] is the first modern account of this remarkable, relatively little-known building. Generously produced, with chapters by Historic Royal Palaces curators, it is an intellectual counterpart to the opening up of the palace to its gardens in 2012” —Country Life

“This handsome volume, written by curators (both past and present) of Historic Royal Palaces…helps to refurnish and repopulate the rooms while offering a comprehensive account of the palace and its residents.”—Jonny Yarker, The Burlington Magazine