After visiting the private apartments on the first floor the visitor
makes his way back down to the more public and elaborate ground floor,
to the Waiting Room and to one of the most fascinating parts of the
House, the Durbar Room.
The Waiting Room and the Durbar Room
The Waiting Room is also known as the Horn room becaused it housed
furniture made from antler's horns that the Prince had bought in 1846.
It also houses the painting "Sorrow" by Sir Edwin Landseer
(1866) depicting the Queen in mourning.
Access to the Durbar room is through a corridor, known as the Durbar
Corridor, with a display of pictures of Indians and includes Winterhalter's
Maharajah Duleep Singh (1854) Abdul Karim who became the personal secretary
to the Queen who also taught her Hindustani. Most of the pictures are
the work of the Austrian artist Rudolph Swoboda (1859 - 1914), Queen
Victoria's court painter (1885-1892).
The Durbar Room
The Durbar room takes its name from a Hindi word darbar originally
meaning "court". The Hindi word derives from the Persian dar
(door) and bar (entry, audience). It was used to indicate the
court of a native ruler or governor in India or a formal court reception.
It was, in fact, built for state banquets.
This important stately function of the room is reflected in the elaborate
decoration with its carvings in the Indian style, a reminder of one
of the titles of Queen Victoria as "Empress of India", title
she held from 1876. The carvings are by Bhai Ram Singh. The room houses
the many gifts that the Queen received on the occasions of her Golden
and Diamond Jubilees. Among the many objects are caskets of elaborately
carved ivory work, engraved silver work, copper vases and Indian armour.
There is also a large model of an Indian Palace of the 19th century.
Restoration work has recently been carried out both on the Durbar
Room and the corridor and the original colour of the walls has been
restored. The original Agra carpet from once in the Durbar Room is now
at Sandringham and a replica has been laid where the original once stood.
There are also elaborate replicas of original chairs and curtains housed
in the room.
Other restoration work includes the restoring the colours of the walls
of the dining room, curtains and carpets.