The Queen visits
The Royal visit of 28 February 1925, when Arthur Bolton was Curator, was an altogether more elaborate affair. Her Majesty Queen Mary (she had become queen shortly after her previous visit, on 6 May 1910,) was again accompanied by her daughter, Princess Mary, and also by the Duke of Cambridge. Bolton recorded in his diary: ‘The Queen, Princess Mary & Duke of Cambridge 3-4.30 pm. Went over house (Kitchen & top floor included). The ground floor front was arranged as in Sir J[ohn] S[oane’s] time with Dining Table from Curator’s Room [this was Soane’s original dining table, now once again on display in the Library-Dining Room] laid out with china & glass & silver. Druggets taken out & old carpets on view. Show cases taken out. Fires lit & Mimosa in vases. On small centre table book to sign & silver ink stand. On 1st floor 9 volumes of Adam [drawings] showing Harewood laid out.’ This was a deliberate choice on Bolton’s part, as Princess Mary had in 1922 married Viscount Lascelles, heir to the 5th Earl of Harewood.
Bolton continues: ‘On 2nd floor in Curator’s Room carpet design for the Adam Room at Wembley’ – a room designed by Bolton for the Wembley exhibition of 1924-5 – ‘& quarter-scale coloured sketch. On 3rd floor front H.M. interested in old furniture. The visit was a great success & most friendly. Mrs Bolton & Jack [his wife and son] present – 7 in all.’
Two days later on 2 March Bolton recorded: ‘Telephone message from Buckingham Palace. Great pleasure in visit & desired book. Sent Seaquil to Buckingham Palace with the Works of R. & J. Adam’ – the book published by Bolton in 1922.
Bolton not only recorded the visit in his diary, but also had two photographs taken of the Library-Dining Room as set up for the visit, which were subsequently turned into postcards to be sold at the Museum (Figs 1 & 2).