Wednesday, May 7, 2014

8: Discussion of the Banqueting House, Whitehall

The Banqueting House at Whitehall is the last remaining vestige of what some sources note as the first *neo-classical* building to be built in England. Other sources note it as Palladian. Others still as Rococo because of certain features such as the pilasters, dual towers at each gate, and processional interior space arrangement.

Uncertain as this is, the building ought not to be ignored, even perhaps only for its historical significance. This courtyard, and the window from the upper story of the banqueting hall, was the location of the scaffold that was used in the public execution of King James I in the aftermath of the English civil war.

The path Inigo Jones took in designing it trumped Versailles, Schonnbrunn, and all other palaces in Europe in size, and allegedly brought England up to date architecturally with the forefront of European post renaissance architectural sensibilities. English architecture up until this point had, except in private residences and the occasional church, been neo-medieval by primary influence.

Part of this quick jump forward was Inigo Jones' brilliance, and part of it was his decision to import several artists, such as Peter Paul Reubens, from the continent to contend with the decoration.

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