The Palace of Whitehall: The Water Side

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall
    This print shows an elevation of the Palace of Whitehall as seen from the Thames. A reflection of the building in the river can be seen in the foreground. Having seen El Escorial during a visit to Madrid in the company of the Duke of Marlborough in 1623, Charles I was inspired to plan the reconstruction of Whitehall ‘according to a model by Inigo Jones’. A letter from 1638 records that ‘His Majesty hath a desire to build (Whitehall) new again in a more uniform sort’. Jones created the first set of designs for Whitehall in 1638, but the issue of how to raise the necessary funds was under constant consideration and therefore, the works were postponed. Also, rebellions in Ireland and Scotland as well as the Civil War (1642–1651) caused delays. Further documents show that King Charles II ‘was unwilling to comply with some designs for the rebuilding of Whitehall’. While the reconstruction projects began during the lifetime of Jones, they underwent changes or were postponed for a later period. After Jones’s death in 1652, his clerk and draughtsman John Webb continued his work and made efforts towards the preparation of Whitehall for the reception of Charles II.
  • About the artist
    Antoine Benoist was born to a family of artists in Picardy, France. In his teens he was brought to England by engraver and publisher Claude Du Bosc, to work on plates for ‘A Military History of the Duke of Marlborough’ (1736). In June 1741 he revisited Paris for less than a year. After returning, he was employed by the Bowles brothers to engrave Hayman’s designs for Vauxhall Gardens. He remained in London until March 1744, when France declared war on Britain. Following the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle he again returned to produce topographical, architectural and portrait prints and plates. He was also a drawing master and, in 1763, was living in St Martin’s Lane with a fellow drawing master and dealer named Beauvais. He died unmarried in 1770.
    Little is known of the early life of Edward Rooker. He was a pupil of engraver Henry Roberts, in High Holborn, while simultaneously pursuing a career in acting. Between 1748 and 1749, he engraved drawings after designs by Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren. He appeared on stage at the New Wells Theatre in 1749 and, by 1752, had joined the company at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. His career as an engraver continued with plates for William Chambers’ ‘Designs of Chinese Buildings’ (1757) and James Stuart’s ‘Antiquities of Athens’ (1762). He collaborated with Paul and Thomas Sandby on ‘Six London Views’, and again with Thomas for illustrations to Tasso’s ‘Jerusalem Delivered’. He died unexpectedly, at around the time of 50th birthday.
    Architect and designer Inigo Jones was born in London; the son of a cloth-worker. He first visited Italy in c.1600, where he purchased a copy of Palladio’s ‘Quattro Libri dell’Architettura’. After returning to London in 1605 he was employed to design costumes and sets for Royal masques. In 1611 Prince Henry also employed him as Head of his Offices of Works. In 1614 Jones began a year-long trip through Italy with the Earl of Arundel, resuming his studies in Italian architecture. On his return he was made Surveyor of the King’s Works, responsible for maintaining the King’s palaces and designing and overseeing the construction of new buildings. Today he his is best-known for the Queen's House, Greenwich (1616-40), and the Banqueting House.
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  • Details
    The Palace of Whitehall: The Water Side
    published 29 March 1748
    Purchased from Messrs. Henry, 1935
    GAC number