Palace of Westminster, Sovereign’s Robing Room


The Sovereign’s Robing Room is one of the principal fine rooms in the Palace used by Her Majesty The Queen as part of the annual State Opening of Parliament. The room of a high Victorian style designed by E.M. Barry features a wealth of sumptuous decorative finishes, including gilded linen fold oak panelling, painted glazing, polychromatic joinery, and a magnificent marble and mosaic chimneypiece.

Donald Insall Associates was appointed to conserve the vulnerable elements, such as the chimneypiece, which suffered from years of mechanical damage and over-waxing, and to restore historic finishes such as the gilding, which in many places had been over-painted with metallic paint. Another significant component of the project concerned the conservation and recording of the 28 Saxon Princess figures which feature around the room in decorative niches, which had received little to no care since the room’s opening. The project has been extremely well received by visitors and building users alike, having transformed the tired-looking room into one wherein the gilded and polished joinery catches the light and the chimneypiece stands as a focal point in the room, just as it was intended to be viewed by Queen Victoria when it opened in 1866.

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