As the saying goes, this is a place that needs no introduction. Nevertheless ~
Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in Richmond upon Thames, Greater London, England ... it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by King Henry VIII. [He came into possession of the palace in 1529.] ... In the following century, King William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project, which destroyed much of the Tudor palace, was intended to rival Versailles. Work ceased in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. [Still], a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a ... balancing of successive low wings. King George II was the last monarch to reside in the palace. ... The grounds as they appear today were laid out in grand style in the late 17th century. There are no authentic remains of Henry VIII's gardens, merely a small knot garden, planted in 1924, which hints at the gardens' 16th-century appearance.source
I visited on June 19 of this year, a sometimes overcast but mostly sunny day after a period of rain. The walk to the palace alongside the Thames was lovely, with people taking advantage of the nice day ~
It was Fathers' Day, so lots of dads and lots of kids ~
No surprise, I headed right for the gardens, with the Rose Garden my first stop ~
Because I have so many rose pictures I have collected them into a slideshow, which I think is more pleasant than scrolling through one after another. I hope you will look and enjoy, in HD and full-screen please ~
Last Edit: Sept 5, 2016 22:49:43 GMT by bixaorellana: title sounded wrong
This dainty little scented geranium was in a planter in front of the Magic Garden, which is for children. That area was packed with excited kids having a good time, so I headed toward the Palace instead.
I want to include here this informative and contemplative video from the Historic Royal Palaces website. It's not only a lovely look at the life of the Hampton Court gardens, but also at the lives of the gardeners who work there. Very charming and uplifting ~
Thanks, Bjd. I was wondering about the little pots, too, vaguely thinking that they were there just to make everything look more Peter Rabbity. But when you asked, I figured I'd better make more of an effort, so looked again. The pots on the ground have writing on them and are labels for the plants. For instance, the pot on the right-hand side of the chives says "chocolate mint" and sure enough, there is mint to the left of it. The ones in the cabbage patch, though, seem to be there to hold the netting up and off of the sticks.
Thanks, Htmb. I have more to show, although I by no means covered everything. Gardens and plants make me want to linger, so the amount of time I give to each thing that interests me means that after several hours I will not have seen everything but am ready to go. That said, I've never seen a garden I wouldn't be willing to revisit, so I always leave with the hope that there will be another time.
You can enter the Palace through the working parts underneath. I either didn't take pictures, or they didn't come out, but there were such things as a butcher's room full of fake cuts of meat. The picture below was in a huge dining hall. The guy was turning the roasts over a real fire, but there was no smell of cooking meat. There were a bunch of the same real-looking roasts on a long table. Although parts of the Palace are of course beautiful and interesting, I was more interested in being outside. Also, there is an understandable desire to entertain in the displays. This could be fun but hokey, but also horrifying as in the full-to-the-brim and bubbling wooden toilet. True!
I was glad to get out of the very large but dark underparts and appreciated that visitors are allowed to wander at will through the courtyards and narrow outside passages ~
Between 1532 and 1535 Henry added the Great Hall (the last medieval great hall built for the English monarchy) ... [It] has a carved hammer-beam roof. During Tudor times, this was the most important room of the palace; here, the King would dine in state seated at a table upon a raised dais.source
Are they naturally regal or what?!
Adjoining the Great Hall is the Great Watching Chamber, where the Royal Guards would stand watch over the royal family. The ceiling is covered with gold leaf. source
This will be an all-white post, kicking off with a fireplace by Grinling Gibbons depicting Yeomen of the Guard. It is in the Guard Chamber of the Queen's State Apartments.
I was completely distracted from admiring any decorative or architectural features of the dining room by my gleeful fascination with this artful craft heretofore unknown to me ~
To complete our white theme we have this trio in the drawing room. The lady on the left is Ehrengard Melusine von der Schulenburg, Duchess of Kendal, nicknamed "The Maypole". The lady on the right is Sophia Charlotte von Kielmansegg, Countess of Darlington and Countess of Leinster, nicknamed "The Elephant". She was the half sister of George I, who presumably is the man in the middle. Georgian highjinks here.
A better view of the exterior of the Banqueting House can be seen in the 2nd and 5th photos of this post. The paintings are by Antonio Verrio for William III. Around a century ago, a resident in the Palace apartments found the naked nymphs offensive and wished them to be painted over. This did not happen, but large pieces of furniture were moved in front of the paintings instead. As you can see in the reflection in the mirror, they are still happily cavorting in their birthday suits ~
Awww, Mich -- you're the best, thank you! I'm so glad you watched the video, which I found delightful. I have to tell you, though: for better or for worse, this thread is not over yet. I still have more to show.
Sorry to read those words, "The end." Every photo was a gem. I kept saying to myself throughout this thread, We visited Hampton Court, so how come I only remember the vine and the maze? (Oh, I also remember learning about grace and favor apartments.) You got so much out of your visit. I got so much out of your visit.
The video of the garden staff shows what a major enterprise this garden is--and the palace must have its own staff of hundreds.
Tricky woman, showing us the grayed-out photo of the fabulous gate, the better to stun us with its gilding.
That clematis in #15 is such a beautiful color but looks so modest.
You always say the nicest things, Breeze ~ thank you! If you had any idea of how many garden pictures I still have waiting to be turned into threads, you'd probably want to be a little less encouraging. I'm embarrassed that you say I got so much out of the visit. As I looked up info to link on this thread, I was chastened to see how much I missed. But your remark nudged me to realize that I left a photo out of the thread, which I'll post below. No photo-tricks on that gate -- that is the color it is painted. Nice contrast, huh?
Bjd, I am really gratified that you & Breeze & Mich all took the time to watch the video. I was afraid the length might put people off, then thought about the potential audience & knew there are those here who would appreciate it.
Anyway, here is the forgotten photo. It is the ceiling of the Chapel Royal. You can see it was taken from a mezzanine above the chapel. Some men and boys were practicing singing below & we spectators were sternly told that it was a sacred place and that no pictures were allowed. Yeah, right ~
Last Edit: Aug 3, 2017 15:35:09 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
I'm glad that I waited to be back at home before looking at this thread, because the size of my travel laptop would not do the photos justice, not to mention the annoying slowness of hotel wifi.
While it would be hard to surprise me with photos of gardens and royal palaces, one thing that did surprise me was the unicorn statue at the entrance. It has always seemed to me that the only fanciful creatures that can be seen in the statuary of 'serious' places are dragons, almost always being slain. I know that most of the artists dearly loved sculpting monsters, too, but they are generally reserved to show the horrors of hell in churches. So the unicorn stands out as unusual in such a prominent location. Then of course all over Europe there are all of those weird looking lions sculpted by people who had clearly never seen a real lion.
The kitchen garden seemed amazingly advanced to me for so early in the season, but I am quite sure that the gardeners know all of the tricks of the trade for planting and accelerating growth. Just remembering my grandparents' garden, I knew all of the best places for the plants to be, too -- warm sunny walls for certain things and shady cool areas for others, not to mention the proper quantites of manure spaded into the soil and the precise times of day for watering the plants.
Naturally the main part of your report is "flowers, glorious flowers" and you have certainly done them justice. I also like those carefully trimmed yet completely freeform shrubs/trees in reply #11. They look like a landscape out of Alice in Wonderland.
Finally, is that "the" portrait of Henry VIII or did all of his portraits look the same?
Kerouac, thanks for your attention to this thread & for the kind words.
The unicorn was once believed to exist. Even Da Vinci, with his scientific mind, believed in their existence. Wikipedia will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about unicorns, including where they are used in heraldry across Europe.
I don't know enough about the climates in Europe to say why the kitchen garden was so advanced, but I suspect it's because Hampton Court has the resources to start plants in the glass houses, thus giving them a head start when they're transplanted to the garden when winter is over.
I like those big sculpted yew trees too. They look as though they could lift their skirts and run away.
Good eye on the Henry VIII portrait. That's what I thought when I saw it too, but that picture is a copy. Here is the reason we instantly see it as the portrait of him.
I've been through this thread probably five or six times now. Now honestly, voluminous palaces and hectare after hectare of formal boxwood hedges in geometric patterns in the old Continental style frequently don't do a lot for me, although these are such fine examples of the type here that one is tempted to suspend one's critical judgement. I find large, open garden expanses a little oppressive even--like they should be viewed from a tethered balloon on a still summer's afternoon with a bottle of champagne and elegant sandwiches ready. They can't both work as large works and at close distance, the aesthetic requirements can never successfully be reconciled.
What does charm me are some of the areas that are sectioned off into what might be called rooms like the pond gardens. Here, the scale invites one in to appreciate the details of the landscaping and plantings. And what *really* works for me is of course the kitchen garden with its almost ostentatious, yet at the same time low key visually, display of horticultural virtuosity and its exquisite variety. I'm not so much invited in as inexorably drawn in--and there's the promise of some fine dining there too. The potting shed is the other thing here that appeals to my inner gardener; let the kings and queens and courtiers and sycophants and sage counsellors and other important and serious people have their run of the palaces, I'll prefer to be hanging out in the shed!
Ha ha ~ if those large garden expanses are not your cup of tea, you would probably have hated Hever. Nevertheless, if you are interested, it was Hever that made me attempt to open a dialogue about some elements of the styles and impressions of huge formal gardens. I found I liked, or at least accepted the wide expanses far more than I thought I would. Of course, there is also the problem of our response to these places being colored by our knowledge of their histories. That said, I do agree with you about the use of garden rooms in the large landscape and the pleasure they give.
On a minor note of disagreement, I can't see the kitchen garden at Hampton Court as at all ostentatious because of the number of people it was originally designed to feed, as witness the size of the Palace. It has an interesting history of having been rather dismissed and even abused at times in its history.
I am certainly flattered by your willingness to visit this thread so many times, especially considering the excess of interior shots. Thanks!
I didn't mean ostentatious in any usual sense like visual, I meant that the virtuosity of the gardening--the skill evident in the growing of the plants--was so obvious that it would make any normal gardener such as myself humbled, if not a little envious. I *know* how difficult it is to get the beautiful results you see in these photos. It's a lot of arcane horticultural knowledge combined with copious amounts of time and simple hard labor. If *any* of those three variables come up short, you don't see results like these.
Ahhh, now I see what you mean. I believe it was in the Sissinghurst thread that you mentioned your lack of a full gardening staff and endless resources -- a combination likely to produce more perfect results than those of the average backyard gardener fighting time and the elements all by himself.