Old and New London, A Narrative of its History, its People and its Places. Illustrated with Numerous Engravings from the Most Authentic Sources. vol 4Thornbury, Walter
It has often been said by foreigners that if they were to judge of the dignity and greatness of a country by the palace which its sovereign inhabits, they would not be able to ascribe to Her Majesty Queen Victoria that proud position among the
of Europe which undoubtedly belongs to her. But though [extra_illustrations.4.61.3] is far from being so magnificent as Versailles is, or the Tuilleries once were, yet it has about it an air of solidity and modest grandeur, which renders it no unworthy residence for a sovereign who cares more for a comfortable home than for display. Indeed, it has often been said that, with the exception of St. James's, Buckingham Palace is the ugliest royal residence in Europe; and although vast sums of money have been spent at various times upon its improvement and embellishment, it is very far from being worthy of the purpose to which it is dedicated-lodging the sovereign of the most powerful monarchy in the world. It fronts the western end of , which here converges to a narrow point; , upon the north, and , upon the south, almost meeting before its gates.
The present palace occupies the site of what, in the reigns of Charles I. and Charles II., was know:i
| as the Mulberry Garden, then a place of fashionable resort. It was so called from the fact that the ground had been planted with mulberry-trees by order of James I., of whose whims was the encouragement of the growth of silk in England as a source of revenue. With this object in view, he imported many ship-loads of young mulberry-trees, most of which were planted round the metropolis. Indeed, he gave by patent to Walter, Lord Aston, the superintendence of |
but all Lord Aston's efforts were unable to secure success; the speculation entered into by King James proved a failure, and the Mulberry Garden was afterwards devoted to a public recreation-ground.
Every reader of John Evelyn and Samuel Pepys will remember how they describe these gardens in their day--the former as
and the latter as
The Mulberry Garden is said by Mr. J. H. Jesse to have been a favourite resort of John Dryden, where he used to eat mulberry tarts. To this the author of
refers when he speaks of
It was in the years prior to his marriage, in , as we learn from a note in his Life by Sir Walter Scott, that Dryden would repair hither, along with his favourite actress, Mrs. Reeve.
writes a correspondent of the for ,
It would appear from the Epilogue of Otway's
in , that in all probability the connection of this fair lady with Dryden was brought to an end by her retreat into a cloister.
The public recreation-ground does not appear, however, to have lasted long, for in the course of a few years we find standing upon the southern portion of it a mansion known as Arlington House, the residence of Henry Bennet, Earl of Arlington, of the
Ministry, under Charles II. Dr. King thus alludes to these changes in his
The house was originally called Goring House; but its name was subsequently changed to that of Arlington House on its being occupied by the Earl of Arlington, whose name is, or ought to be, indissolubly linked with it, on account at all events; for in the year of the great plague his lordship brought hither from Holland the of tea which was imported into England, and which cost him ; so that, as John Timbs remarks,
On the demolition of Arlington House, in , its site was purchased by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, who built on it a mansion of red brick.
published in , the original building is described as
adds the writer,
They are thus described :--
Sheffield's history furnishes another example of the instability of human greatness, and especially of titles. His only son, who held the title but a few short years, died, unmarried, in , when the family honours became extinct. His father's great wealth was carried by his mother into her family by a previous marriage--the Phippses, now Marquises of Normanby. The duchess was grandmother of Mr. Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave, who married the eldest daughter of Lepel, Lady Hervey, the friend of Pope and Horace Walpole. Lady Hervey was often a visitor at Buckingham House, the mansion being at the time an abode of mirth and cheerfulness, if we may judge from her letters.
In a letter to the Duke of Shrewsbury, printed in
the Duke of Buckingham describes the house, and his style of living there, in the most minute detail. It is said that, at an annual dinner which he gave to his spendthrift friends, he used to propose as a toast,
He died in this house, and here his remains lay in state previous to their removal to , where they were consigned to their tomb in the stately chapel of Henry VII.
The duke's proud widow, Catherine Darnley, the natural daughter of James II. by Catherine Sedley, Countess of Dorchester, lived here after his death.
writes Mr. J. H. Jesse,
writes Horace Walpole,
By her own express directions, she was buried with great pomp beside her lord in the Abbey, where there was formerly a waxen figure of her, after the usual royal fashion, adorned with jewels, prepared in her life by her own hands. She was succeeded in her ownership of the house by the duke's natural son, Charles Herbert Sheffield, on whom his Grace had entailed it after the death of his son, the young duke.
George III., in his year, bought the house for the sum of , and shortly afterwards removed hither from . Here all his numerous family was born, with the exception of the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), whose birth took place at St. James's. The King and Queen grew so fond of their new purchase that they took up their abode entirely here; and during their reign, was kept up for use only on Court days and other occasions of ceremony.
In the property was legally settled, by Act of Parliament, on [extra_illustrations.4.63.1] (in exchange for , as we have stated in the previous volume); and henceforth Buckingham House was known in West-end society as the
Northouck describes [extra_illustrations.4.64.1] , in , in terms which do not imply that the King and Queen had shown much taste in its approaches.
The illustration of the front which he gives shows a great resemblance to Kensington Palace.
The house is described, at the
| beginning of the present century, as having a mean appearance, being low and built of brick, though |
adds the writer,
On the marriage of the Prince of Wales (George IV.),
adds the writer,
[extra_illustrations.4.64.2] [extra_illustrations.4.64.3] [extra_illustrations.4.64.4]
At the south-east angle of the old house was an octagonal apartment, which contained for many years the cartoons of Raphael (now in the South Kensington Museum). They were transferred to Windsor Castle, and subsequently exhibited for a time at . The saloon was superbly fitted up as the throne-room, and here Queen Charlotte held her public drawing-rooms. Thus the mansion remained till the reign of George IV., externally
as it was styled by a writer of the time.
At the Queen's House, in , when his Majesty had been seated little more than years upon the throne, Dr. Johnson was honoured by George III. with a personal interview, as related by his biographers. Boswell tells us that the doctor had frequently visited those splendid rooms and noble collection of books, which he used to say was more numerous and curious than he supposed any person could have made in the time which the king had employed.
His Majesty having been informed of his occasional visits, was pleased to signify a desire that he should be told when Dr. Johnson came next to the library. Accordingly, the next time that Johnson did come, as soon as he was fairly engaged with a book, on which, while he sat by the fire, he seemed quite intent, Mr. Barnard stole round to the apartment where the king was, and, in obedience to his Majesty's commands, mentioned that Dr. Johnson was then in the library. His Majesty said he was at leisure, and would go to him; upon which Mr. Barnard took of the candles that stood on the king's table, and lighted his Majesty through a suite of rooms, till they came to a private door into the library, of which his Majesty had the key. Being entered, Mr. Barnard stepped forward hastily to Dr. Johnson, who was still in a profound study, and whispered him, Johnson started up, and stood still. His Majesty approached him, and at once was courteously easy.
The king conversed with his learned subject freely and agreeably on the studies of Oxford, the University libraries, the literary journals in England and abroad, the
and other literary topics. Boswell continues:
Dr. Johnson, on this occasion, was pleased to pass a high compliment on the elegant manners of the sovereign. In speaking of this interview, the biographer writes:
It was not often that Dr. Johnson condescended to express himself so approvingly of anybody, least of all of whose position was of direct antagonism to his beloved Stuart line; but we may well imagine that even the learned doctor's head was a little turned by the unexpected and flattering marks of condescension which he, so lately a poor and struggling man, had received from the King of England.
It is remarkable that Dr. Johnson should have seen , if not , of our sovereigns, and been in the actual presence of , if not , of them. Queen Anne
him; George I. he probably never saw; but George II. he must frequently have seen, though only in public; George III. he conversed with on the occasion above mentioned; and he once told Sir John Hawkins that, in a visit to Mrs. Percy, who had the care of
|of the young princes, at the Queen's House, the Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV.), being a child, came into the room, and began to play about; when Johnson, with his usual curiosity, took an opportunity of asking him what books he was reading, and, in particular, inquired as to his knowledge of the Scriptures. The Prince, in his answers, gave him great satisfaction. It is possible, also, that at that visit he might have seen Prince William Henry (William IV.), who, as well as the Duke of Kent, was afterwards under Mrs. Percy's care. [extra_illustrations.4.65.1]|
Among the occasional visitors to Queen Charlotte here were Josiah Wedgwood and his partner Bentley, who often had the opportunity of showing to their Majesties the
in the way of artistic pottery.
writes Bentley, in , to a friend at Liverpool,
During the nights of the Gordon Riots, the King sat up with some of the general officers in the Queen's Riding House, whence messengers were constantly dispatched to observe the motions of the mob.
In the King gave a reception to the Persian Ambassador, when an honour was conferred upon him that was hitherto confined to the Royal Family, namely,
of the ladies of the Court of the Princess of Wales thus mentions Buckingham House, in III :
From its doors, in , [extra_illustrations.4.65.2] went forth as a bride, attired for her wedding with Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. The nation even now does not forget how, within a few short months, that brightest gem in the English crown was carried to the tomb.
George III. and Queen Charlotte, while living here, it appears, were strong believers in the literal application of the precept of Solomon,
writes the Honourable Amelia Murray, in her
Was it wonderful that the results proved anything but satisfactory?
Christmas-trees are now quite a common sight in almost every English household. But this was not the case half a century ago. Queen Charlotte, however, true to her German associations, as we learn in the work quoted above, regularly had dressed up, either here or at Kew Palace, in the room of her German attendant.
writes the authoress,
In [extra_illustrations.4.66.1] was commenced, from the design of John Nash, by command of George IV.; but as William IV. did not like the situation or the building, Buckingham House was not occupied until the accession of Queen Victoria. It was at intended only to repair and enlarge the old house; and therefore the old site, height, and dimensions were retained. This led to the erection of a clumsy building, as it was considered that Parliament would never have granted the funds for an entirely new palace. On the accession of her present Majesty, several alterations and im-
|provements were effected, and new buildings added on the south side. The principal of these is the private chapel, which occupies the place of the old conservatory. It was consecrated in . The pillars of this building formed a portion of the screen of Carlton House. years later other and more extensive alterations were effected by the erection, at a cost of about , of the [extra_illustrations.4.67.1] , under the superintendence of Mr. Blore. The palace, as constructed by Nash, consisted of sides of a square, Roman-Corinthian, raised upon a Doric basement, with pediments at the ends; the side being enclosed by iron palisades. In front of the central entrance stood, formerly, the , now at the north-east|
| corner of . It was removed to its present situation in . On it was displayed the royal banner of England, denoting the presence of the sovereign. This flag is now displayed on the roof in the centre of the eastern front.. The new east front of the palace is the same length as the garden front; the height to top of the balustrade is nearly feet, and it has a central and arched side entrances, leading direct into the quadrangle. The wings are surmounted by statues representing |
and upon turrets, flanking the central shield (bearing
), are colossal figures of
besides groups of trophies, festoons of flowers, &c. Around the entire building is a scroll frieze of the rose, shamrock, and thistle. [extra_illustrations.4.68.1] [extra_illustrations.4.68.2] [extra_illustrations.4.68.3]
It has been asserted that the mismanagement on the part of the Government nearly ruined the artist of the magnificent gates of the arch. Their cost was guineas, and they are the largest and most superb in Europe, not excepting the stupendous gates of the Ducal Palace at Venice, and those made by order of Buonaparte for the Louvre at Paris. Yet the Government agents are reported to have conveyed these costly gates from the manufacturer's in a
when the semi-circular head, the most beautiful portion of the design, was irretrievably mutilated; and, consequently, it has not been fixed in the archway to the present day.
The most important portions of the palace are the Marble Hall and Sculpture Gallery, the Library, the [extra_illustrations.4.68.4] , the Vestibule, the state apartments, consisting of the New Drawing-room, and the Throne-room, the Picture Gallery (where her present Majesty has placed a valuable collection of paintings), the Grand Saloon, and the State Ballroom.
The Entrance-hall is surrounded by a range of double columns, with gilded bases and capitals, standing on a continuous basement; each column consists of a single piece of Carrara marble. The G..rand Staircase is of white marble, the decorations of which were executed by L. Gruner. The State Ball-room, on the south side, was finished in , from Pennethorne's design, and decorated within by Gruner; and it has been more than once stated in print that it cost . It has ranges of scagliola porphyry Corinthian columns, carrying an entablature and coved ceiling, elaborately gilt. In this room are Winterhalter's portraits of the Queen and the late Prince Consort, also Vandyke's Charles I. and Henrietta Maria. This splendid room was the scene of superb costume balls in and : the in the style of the reign of Edward III.; and the in was in the taste of George II.'s reign. The Library, which is. also used as a waiting-room for deputations, is very large, and decorated in a manner combining comfort with elegance; it opens upon a terrace, with a conservatory at end and the chapel at the other, whilst over the balustrade are seen the undulating surface of the palace gardens. From this noble apartment, as soon as the Queen is ready to receive them, deputations pass across the Sculpture Gallery into the Hall, and thence ascend, by the Grand Staircase through an ante-room and Drawing-room, to the Throne-room. The Sculpture Gallery contains busts of eminent statesmen and members of the Royal Family, and extends through the whole length of the central portion of the front of the edifice. Drawing-room, which opens upon the upper storey of the portico of the old building, is a long and lofty apartment. Visitors on the occasions of state balls and other ceremonies are conducted through Drawing-room to the Picture Gallery and the Grand Saloon. On these occasions refreshments are served in the Garterroom and Green Drawing-room, and supper laid in the principal Dining-room. The concerts, invitations to which seldom exceed , are given in the Grand Saloon. [extra_illustrations.4.68.5] , which is in the eastern front, is upwards of feet in length, and has the walls hung with crimson satin, the alcove with crimson velvet, and both are relieved by a profusion of golden hues; the ceiling is richly carved and gilt, emblazoned with armorial bearings, and the fringe adorned with bas-reliefs, illustrative of tie Wars of the Roses.
The palace includes a [extra_illustrations.4.68.6] , containing a choice and extensive collection of specimens of ancient and modern masters; it can be viewed by orders from the Lord Chamberlain, which are granted only to persons who can give good references and guarantees of respectability. The Queen's Gallery contains a variety of the works of Dutch and Flemish artists, together with a few pictures of the Italian and English schools, collected by King George IV., who purchased the nucleus of the whole from Sir Thomas Baring, and was aided in his selection of others by Sir Charles Long, afterwards Lord Farnborough, whose taste in all that concerned fine arts was unquestioned. The gallery itself is an extensive corridor, upwards of feet long, and lighted from the roof by skylights of ground glass, on which are exhibited all the stars of the various European orders. The
of the Queen, which are [extra_illustrations.4.68.7] [extra_illustrations.4.68.8] [extra_illustrations.4.68.9] [extra_illustrations.4.68.10]
|very rarely shown, contain some fine portraits and miniatures of the late and present Royal Families, by Vandyck, Lely, Kneller, Gainsborough, Copley, Lawrence, &c. [extra_illustrations.4.69.1] [extra_illustrations.4.69.2] [extra_illustrations.4.69.3]|
[extra_illustrations.4.69.4] is generally considered the most magnificent apartment in the palace; the whole of the furniture being elaborately carved, overlaid with burnished gold, and covered with broad-striped yellow satin. Several highly-polished syenite marble pillars are ranged against the walls. In each panel is painted a full-length portrait of some member of the Royal Family. This room, which is on the north side of the palace, communicates with the Queen's private apartments. The saloon, in the centre of the garden front, is superbly decorated; the shafts of the Corinthian columns are composed of purple scagliola, in imitation of lapis lazuli; the entablature, cornice, and ceiling are profusely enriched; and the remaining decorations and furniture are of corresponding magnificence. The South Drawing-room contains compositions in relief, by the late William Pitts-namely, the apotheosis of Spenser, of Shakespeare, and of Milton.
The last of the state rooms is the Dining-room, which is a very spacious and handsome apartment, lighted by windows on side only, opening into the garden; the spaces between these windows are filled with immense mirrors. At the southern end is a deep recess, the extremity of which is nearly filled by a large looking-glass, in front of which, during state balls or dinners, the buffet of gold plate is arranged, producing a most magnificent effect. The ceiling is highly enriched with foliage and floral ornamentation. On the eastern side are portraits of former members of the royal family, and Sir Thomas Lawrence's whole-length portrait of George IV. in his coronation robes, which was originally in the Presence Chamber at .
[extra_illustrations.4.69.5] , of the palace, architecturally the principal , has Corinthian towers, and also a balustraded terrace, on the upper portion of which are statues, trophies, and bas-reliefs, by Flaxman and other distinguished sculptors.
[extra_illustrations.4.69.6] cover a space of about acres, of which are occupied by a lake. Upon the summit of a lofty artificial mound, rising from the margin of the lake, is a picturesque pavilion, or garden-house, with a minaret roof. In the centre is an octagonal room, with figures of
and lunettes, painted in fresco, from Milton's
by Eastlake, Maclise, Landseer, Dyce, Stanfield, Uwins, Leslie, and Ross. Another room is decorated in the Pompeian style, and a is embellished with romantic designs, suggested by the novels and poems of Sir Walter Scott.
The Royal Stables-or mews, as they are gene. rally called--are situated on the north side of the garden, and are concealed from the palace by a lofty mound. They contain a spacious ridingschool, a room expressly for keeping the state harness, stabling for the state horses, and houses for carriages. The magnificent stage-coach, which is kept here, was designed by Sir William Chambers, in , and painted by Cipriani with a series of emblematical subjects; its entire cost is said to have been little short of .
In it was a common joke of the day that Buckingham Palace could boast at all events of being the cheapest of all royal residences, having been
It was in July of the above year that Queen Victoria took up her residence here, since which period this palace has been the constant abode of Her Majesty, when in town. Here, in and , were born the Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales; and it has been the birthplace of most of the other children of Her Majesty. It is, too, occasionally set apart as the temporary residence of royal guests from foreign parts, when on visits to this country.
In , a young lad, named Jones, caused some alarm to the inmates of the palace by making his way into the Queen's private apartments. Unlike the poor demented youth who in more recent times levelled an empty worn-out pistol to Her Majesty as she was leaving her carriage to enter the palace, the only object of
as he was called, appears to have been notoriety, and this gratification certainly he obtained. Mr. Raikes, in commenting on this incident in his
Here, in , the Princess Augusta of Cambridge was married with great state to Frederick William, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. [extra_illustrations.4.69.7] [extra_illustrations.4.69.8] [extra_illustrations.4.69.9] [extra_illustrations.4.69.10]
| The King of Hanover came over for the occasion. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Raikes happening to be breakfasting with the Duke of Wellington, the latter told the following story:-- |
added the duke,
It was in front of Buckingham Palace that the Scots Fusilier Guards paraded in the early dawn of a bleak March day in , from the Wellington Barracks to Portsmouth, to embark for the Black Sea. The Queen, accompanied by the Prince Consort, the Prince of Wales, then a youth of , and others of her elder children, looked down from the balcony to bid her soldiers farewell.
All sorts of silly stories are current relative to an interview with which Her Majesty here favoured Mr. Charles Dickens in the last few weeks of his life, just as George III. and Queen Charlotte had favoured. Dr. Johnson and Wedgwood a century before; but the true account is given by Mr. John Forster, in his
of the great novelist, in terms of which the following is the substance:--
writes Mr. Forster,
Just months from the day of the above interview with the Queen, Dickens was buried in .
the head-quarters of which are at Buckingham Palace, comprises of the chief officers of Her Majesty's Household --namely, the Lord Steward, the Treasurer, the Comptroller, the Master of the Household, and the Secretary. They have the oversight and
| government of the Queen's Court bearing the above title, and also the supervision of the Household accounts, the purveyance of the provisions and their payment, and the good government of the servants of the Household. In Murray's |
we learn that
In this department an office was held by Mr. William Bray, F.S.A., some years Treasurer of the Society of Antiquaries, and the author (conjointly with Mr. Manning) of the
He died in , aged .
It is at Buckingham Palace that Her Majesty usually holds her
A court is held for the reception of the diplomatic and other official bodies, the general circle on the court list, and other persons having special invitations, the presentations being few in number. A writer in the gives us the following observations on these State receptions:--
[extra_illustrations.4.61.1] Cut-out on Buckingham Palace
[extra_illustrations.4.61.2] Entrance from Hyde Park Corner
[extra_illustrations.4.61.3] Buckingham Palace
[extra_illustrations.4.63.1] Queen Charlotte
[extra_illustrations.4.64.1] Buckingham House
[extra_illustrations.4.64.2] Upper Staircase
[extra_illustrations.4.64.3] Lower Staircase
[extra_illustrations.4.64.4] Drawing Room
[extra_illustrations.4.65.1] Princess Charlotte's Mausoleum at Claremont
[extra_illustrations.4.65.2] Princess Charlotte
[extra_illustrations.4.66.1] the present edifice
[extra_illustrations.4.67.1] east front
[extra_illustrations.4.68.1] Drawing Room of Queen Victoria
[extra_illustrations.4.68.2] Exterior of New Ball Room
[extra_illustrations.4.68.3] French Emperor's Drawing Room
[extra_illustrations.4.68.4] Grand Staircase
[extra_illustrations.4.68.5] The Throne-room
[extra_illustrations.4.68.6] Picture Gallery
[extra_illustrations.4.68.7] Princess Royal sitting for Portrait
[extra_illustrations.4.68.8] Buckingham Palace, and Royal Escort
[extra_illustrations.4.68.9] Buckingham Palace Gates
[extra_illustrations.4.68.10] The Library
[extra_illustrations.4.69.1] Garden Pavillion, Buckingham Palace
[extra_illustrations.4.69.2] Plan of Gardens
[extra_illustrations.4.69.3] Bird's-Eye View of Buckingham and St. James's Palaces
[extra_illustrations.4.69.4] The Yellow Drawing-room
[extra_illustrations.4.69.5] The garden, or west front
[extra_illustrations.4.69.6] The pleasure grounds
[extra_illustrations.4.69.7] Toilet Table at Buckingham Palace
[extra_illustrations.4.69.8] State Bed Room
[extra_illustrations.4.69.9] Prince and Princess in Garden
[extra_illustrations.4.69.10] Island in Garden