The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 52 Hampton Court

Picture Gallery

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We return to the ante-room and pass to the right through a series of small rooms facing the courtyard the pictures in which are of little importance and badly lighted. The first room was once the queen's private chapel; the second still contains the queen's marble bath; in the third (the private dining-room) is Queen Anne's bed of Genoa velvet; and in the Queen's Private Chamber is the bed of George II. when a boy, and another bath. We next enter the KING'S GALLERY, a beautiful apartment specially designed by Wren for the famous Raphael Cartoons, now at South Kensington. It contains seven Brussels tapestries copied from the cartoons. In the PORTRAIT or COMMUNICATION GALLERY are hung the portraits, by Sir Peter Lely, of ladies of Charles II.'s court, known as the 'Windsor Beauties,' because they formerly hung in the queen's bed-room at Windsor Castle. Perhaps the finest are the Duchess of Richmond (No. 913; the model for the Britannia of the coinage), the Countess de Grammont (No. 929), and Princess Mary as Diana (No. 927). Among the other portraits here are 904. Mierevelt, Prince Rupert; 905. Robert Walker, Portrait of himself; 916. W. Dobson, Portrait of a man; 937. F. Pourbus, Henri IV. of France. At the end of the gallery, on the left, are three small rooms, the farthest of which is CARDINAL WOLSEY'S CLOSET, a beautiful Tudor room with a rich ceiling, old oak linen-scroll panelling, and a frieze of panel-paintings representing scenes from the Passion. From the upper landing of the QUEEN'S STAIRCASE (the fine iron balustrade of which is ascribed to Tijou) we visit (immediately to the right) the QUEEN'S GUARD CHAMBER, a large room with a heavy cornice and a monumental chimney-piece. The cartoons here shown are by Carlo Cignani. Crossing the landing we next enter the HAUNTED GALLERY, where the ghost of Queen Catherine Howard is said to walk. The gallery is hung with portraits, Flemish tapestry, and antlers. Off it opens the upper part of the CHAPEL, which may be viewed (except on Saturday and Sunday) from Henry VIII. 's Holiday Closet, or oratory, and Queen Anne's Pew. The Tudor roof and the woodwork by Wren should be noted. From the extreme end of the gallery we enter Henry VIII. 's Great Watching Chamber, or guard-room, which has a flat late-Tudor ceiling and is adorned with old Flemish tapestries: 1030. Unknown historical subject; 1031-1033. 'Story of the Triumphs'; 1034-1036. 'Story of the seven deadly sins.' A door (closed at present) communicates with the Great Hall. Adjacent is the Horn Room, whence a staircase descends to the kitchens. Near the end of the Haunted Gallery (on the left as we return) is a staircase, which we descend to a dark corridor on the ground floor. We turn to the left, then to the right, to reach the Serving Place and the Tudor Kitchens (admission 3d.), two lofty bare chambers with huge fireplaces, serving-hatches, a bread oven, and ancient utensils. Thence we retrace our steps past the foot of the last-mentioned staircase, and, following the corridor, enter the cloistered Fountain Court, designed by Wren. In the west cloister is the door of the rooms occupied by Wren, with his monogram over it. The west cloister is prolonged to the north by a corridor in which is the entrance to the Chapel, open for service on Sunday (11 a. m. and 3. 30 p. m.). The windows opposite look out on the 'Round Kitchen Court.' A short passage to the right leads to the 'Chapel Court,' in the rooms on the north side of which Edward VI. was nursed by Mrs. Penn. From the Fountain Court we enter the gardens by a doorway in the centre of the east cloister.