Saturday, 26 August 2017

A Visit to Banqueting House London






THE LOST PALACE OF WHITEHALL WAS ONCE THE LARGEST ROYAL RESIDENCE IN EUROPE, AND HOME TO THE
MONARCHY FOR 168 YEARS.  ACQUIRED BY KING HENRY VIII FROM THE ARCHDIOCESE OF YORK FOLLOWING
CARDINAL WOLSEY'S FALL FROM GRACE, IT WAS ENLARGED AND COMPLETED BY QUEEN ELIZABETH I.

IN 1606 A MORE SUBSANTIAL  BUILDING ON THIS VERY SITE REPLACED A TEMPORARY WOODEN CONSTRUCTION
AND WAS COMMISSIONED BY KING JAMES I AND HIS WIFE QUEEN ANNE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE ROYAL
MASQUE. IT IS THE BUILDING YOU SEE TODAY, THE SOLE SURVIVOR OF THE TWO DEVASTATING FIRES IN THE 1690's.

ON 30th JANUARY  1649 KING CHARLES I PASSED BENEATH THE MAGNIFICENT RUBENS CEILING, PAINTED TO
CELEBRATE THE GLORY OF THE MONARCHY, AS HE MADE HIS WAY TO A SCAFFOLD OUTSIDE WHERE HE WAS
BEHEADED FOR TREASON.
THE RUBENS CEILING WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THE VERY LAST THINGS HE SAW, A WORK THAT HE ACTUALLY
COMMISSIONED HIMSELF.
THE FIRST MAJOR CLASSICAL BUILDING IN ENGLAND CONSTRUCTED IN THE ITALIAN PALLADIAN STYLE, THE
BANQUETING HOUSE IS A MIRACULOUS AND ARCHITECTURALLY PRECIOUS SURVIVOR OF FLOOD, FIRE AND WAR,
WHO'S ABILITY TO IMPRESS HAS ONLY INCREASED WITH AGE.


BANQUETING HOUSE WHITEHALL LONDON


Here's a beautiful Palace in Whitehall that I've been itching to visit, finally getting
there yesterday on Friday morning on what was a very busy sunny morning in Central
London, with tourists absolutely everywhere.
Oddly enough I must have walked past Banqueting House dozens of times while
passing through Whitehall and yet I wasn't even aware of it's presence until recently
when I saw some pictures in Time Out magazine of the spectacular Rubens painted
ceiling. They were installed in the Main Hall in 1636 but actually created by
Rubens in Antwerp.
And it is the Main Hall with it's spectacular ceiling that is the big draw of this
long lost Palace.
The lower floor called The Undercroft was closed off to the public yesterday
as they were carrying out some repairs. And yet both the Main Hall and The Undercroft
can be hired out to the general public for weddings and various functions as well
as conferences and fashion shows.

And being such a warm and sunny day I couldn't resist joining the hordes of
tourists by moving on to several nearby London hotspots like Trafalgar Square,
Parliament Square, The Thames and Big Ben, the now silent clock, where
builders were already busy putting up more scaffolding. And I'll no doubt post
up some of those images later on.

Below: The official Tourist Information video
for Banquet House.

6 comments:

  1. I've never heard of Banqueting House. Impressive, and I like the sneaky snap.

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  2. Andrew, I don't know how I only just recently discovered it. Yes I think I took a lot of
    candid pictures yesterday. I might have had lots more if I had stayed out all day.

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  3. It seems strange to be a tourist in your own city but I understand what you mean. I've always regretted that the Monarch no longer has the power to lop of a few heads. It would keep the politicians in line and hopefully give the editors of the Mail and Sun a few sleepless nights. - Ian

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    Replies
    1. Ian, I guess ol' Charlie boy was asking for trouble in the way he went about things. They said that some of the Judges were too frightened to get involved in charging him with treason. And it was no easy task finding a willing executioner.
      But eventually the Monarchy was restored.

      Yes it is a bit odd to be a tourist in my own city. But then there's just so much to see and enjoy. I guess London has a lot of history.
      Gee, The Mail and The Sun seems to have spread itself as far as your parts. There seems no escape from them.

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  4. Replies
    1. Too nice a show of your service. THANK YOU for all your effeortings. Dispite this creature's bad writings.

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