The Little Banqueting House was made for King William III for his private entertainment – a place to get away from it all.
The beautiful Dutch terraced landscape garden known as the Pond Garden is in the foreground in the picture above, and in the background, the lovely Little Banqueting House. I was able to enter this lovely place during the Baroque Weekend at Hampton Court Palace in the summer. Historic Royal Palaces is the charity that runs Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Tower of London and the Banqueting House (all that remains of Whitehall Palace). It’s normally not open to the public as it is often used for special events like weddings, meetings, etc. And I took as many photos as my camera allowed me at the time (it was on its’ last legs!).
There is an exceptionally good view of the Thames river from the windows at the back- which you can see in the picture above – as this building lies by the river. The courtiers must have stood or sat by these windows and gazed upon passing boats and wildlife.
The artwork that adorns the walls and ceilings in this lovely place is superb and deliciously Baroque and is from the hand of Antonio Verrio. Verrio also painted the King’s Staircase in William III’s state apartments and several other rooms throughout the Baroque part of Hampton Court. I thought the interior was so lovely and cosy – it seemed much more conducive towards relaxation than anywhere else in the main palace.
What a lovely fireplace! You can truly picture William’s favourite courtiers playing their card games and chatting and drinking away the time in these rooms. Though built for his pleasure, William had little time to enjoy this. I believe the building was completed sometime around 1700, and William died in 1702.
The colours of the ceiling are more like those above, but the shot was clearer in the one below. I couldn’t ask anyone to verify this for me (as it was very busy) but that bust that one of the figures is holding looks awfully like William III…