Wednesday, 28 September 2016

I have been to ... the Banqueting House, Whitehall

After our visit to Horse Guards and the Household Cavalry Museum, Sue and I crossed the road to have a look around the Banqueting House.

The Banqueting House, Whitehall, is the only remaining building of the Palace of Whitehall. It was designed in 1619 by Inigo Jones in the Palladian style, and completed three years later at a cost of £15,618. In January 1649 King Charles I was executed on a scaffold built outside the Banqueting House, and this is commemorated by a bust of the King that is above the entrance to the building.


Our first stop on our brief visit was to the building's undercroft.


We then ascended the stairs to the main hall ...


... which is a double-height, double cube with ...



... a ceiling that was painted by Peter Paul Rubens during the last decade of his life.






The painting was commissioned by King Charles I and was entitled The Apotheosis of James I.

8 comments:

  1. Bob,
    Well the Architects, Artisans and Craftsmen and Masons of 1619 certainly produced amazingly detail- we've lost this craft and skilled artistry near altogether now. Thanks for showing us Bob. Regards. KEV.

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    Replies
    1. Kev,

      Luckily organisations like the National Trust, English Heritage, the the Church of England have so many old buildings that are constantly under repair and renovation that we still have a body of trained people in the UK. A friend of mine is the Clerk-of-Works at St Alban's Abbey, and he has a team of stone masons (including apprentices) working full-time for him.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Did you see the window through which Charles I stepped to his execution?

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    Replies
    1. Mike,

      I might have missed it, but I didn't see any signs that indicated which window it was.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. Didn't this building used to hold the RUSI museum exhibits, which were mostly sent to the National Army Museum when that was established? I was surprised the ceiling survived the Civil War period.

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    Replies
    1. Nigel Drury,

      It was converted into a chapel after the destruction of Whitehall Palce, and was then passed over to RUSI in the late 1890s. They were going to convert the building into offices, but in the end it became their museum. It ceased to be a museum in the mid 1960s, and it was 'restored' to its current condition.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. It had a lucky escape from the 1698 fire. I've just looked at the wiki page for Whitehall Palace - it's interesting to think what the area would be like now if Inigo Jones whole 1630s re-design for the palace had been completed.

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    3. Nigel Drury,

      What a lot of modern visitors don't realise is that the building was built from brick, and that the stone cladding was added later.

      Inigo Jones's design is quite interesting, and would have meant that Westminster would have looked very different from the way it does today.

      All the best,

      Bob

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