Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Inside the Fictional residencies of 'The Queen'

Isn't it funny how a simple event can trigger an idea. I was struggling somewhat for inspiration for blog content this past week when I was challenged by a dear friend to name my top ten favourite films in ten minutes. I had no problem doing so, the task actually taking only a minute or two; What I realised after, was that I had unintentionally chosen films based around Royalty and the Aristocracy and that they all had one thing in common..beautiful interiors. It was then that I realised that I had stumbled upon the inspiration I had been searching for and this would make an interesting post. So without further hesitation and in no particular order, here is the list:

The Queen (Helen Mirren)
The Kings Speech (Colin Firth)
The Duchess (Keira Knightley)
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Cate Blanchett)
Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst)
Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley)
Amadeus (Tom Hulce)
The Iron Lady (Meryl Streep)
Melancholia (Kirsten Dunst)
Atonement (Keira Knightley)

 Sadly I have decided not to feature all of the interiors from the above list. Instead I am going to focus on the Interiors from 'The Queen' starring Helen Mirren. This film depicts the immediate aftermath of the death of Princess Diana, and in particular the reaction of the Queen. Royal residencies such as Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle are depicted and as a staunch royalist, this film was a real treat personally. I have always admired Royal residencies so it was interesting to see how they would be depicted on film. Thankfully close attention was paid to ensure that interior shots were appropriate depictions of the Queen's homes.

The above scene shows the Queen in a Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. All of the interior filming for this was on location at Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire. Brocket Hall is a large Country House but it's proportions are nowhere near that of a Palace. Much of the original furniture was taken away from the room and the remaining pieces strategically placed to increase scale. It is very easy to imagine this being a large Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace.

The elegance and grandeur of Buckingham Palace is realised with the placement of furniture and selection of handsome objects in view. 

Familiar? The Queen sitting at her desk in Buckingham Palace opening mail.

The Drawing Room at Brocket Hall arranged in it's usual manner. It is now more obvious to see the true scale of the room, it is not as large as it appears in the film. This has always been one of my favourite Drawing Rooms with it's blue silk wall covering and daffodil yellow curtains. 

The above picture shows the Dining Room at Brocket Hall. As mentioned previously, it was important to capture the grandeur and scale of Buckingham Palace therefore this room was emptied of all furniture and was used instead as a corridor where the Queen is seen walking along to enter her Drawing Room.

The Queen is seen here reading the Morning papers. This scene was again filmed at Brocket Hall. 

The Bedroom in full view. This is exactly the style of bedroom I imagine a Queen to rest in! The Four Poster is so incredibly delicate and looks exquisite with it's hangings. 

The Queen is seen here with her Prime Minister in the Audience Room. This is a more formal 'working' room and is filled with French Furniture. 

The real thing. The actual Audience Room at Buckingham Palace, designed by John Fowler.

The exterior of Brocket Hall where the interior scenes of Buckingham Palace were filmed.

The interior scenes for Balmoral Castle were filmed at Blairquhan Castle in Scotland. The Queen spends six weeks at Balmoral every Summer and it is where she learned of the news of Diana's death. Balmoral is known to be a very private residence filled with personal objects and antiques. 

Another glimpse shows the comfortable elegance of 'Balmoral' with it's damask wall covering, chintzy lamps and wooden furniture.

A rare glimpse inside the Queen's favourite residence, Balmoral. The Drawing Room is very much typical of any private residence with personal photographs on display, magazines scattered and one's favourite chair placed by the fire.

Blairquhan Castle in Scotland, used to film the interior scenes of Balmoral

The real deal. Balmoral Castle, the Queen's beloved Scottish home.


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