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Banqueting House Review
James I commissioned Inigo Jones, one of England's great architects, to undertake a grand building on the site of the original Tudor Palace of Whitehall, which was (according to one foreign visitor) "ill-built, and nothing but a heap of houses." Jones' Banqueting House, finished in 1622 and the first building in England to be completed in the neo-classical style, bears all the hallmarks of the Palladian sophistication and purity which so influenced Jones during his sojourn in Italy. James' son, Charles I, enhanced the interior by employing the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens—enticed to England by the promise of a knighthood—to glorify his father and himself (naturally) in a series of vibrant painted ceiling panels called 'The Apotheosis of James I'. As it turned out, these allegorical paintings, depicting a wise monarch being received into heaven, were the last thing Charles saw before stepped through the open first floor window onto the scaffold which had been erected directly outside for his execution by Cromwell's Parliamentarians in 1649. Yet 20 years later his son, Charles II, would celebrate the restoration of the monarchy in the exact same place.
- Address: Whitehall, Westminster, London, SW1A 2ER | Map It
- Phone: 020/3166-6154; 020/3166-6155; 020/3166-6153 concert information
- Cost: £5, includes audio guide
- Hours: Mon.--Sat. 10--5, last admission 4:15. Closed Christmas wk. Liable to close at short notice for events so calling first is advisable
- Website: www.hrp.org.uk
- Tube: Charing Cross, Embankment, Westminster.
- Location: Westminster and Royal London
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