A View of the Royal Palace of Hampton Court / Vue du Palais Royal de Hampton Court
About the work
Grand houses and their gardens, particularly ones with royal associations, attracted both British and foreign tourists in the eighteenth century, as they continue to do so today. This view of Hampton Court Palace and its gardens would have been popular with those who visited at the time, for instance connoisseurs or a relatively small elite group of people. The part of the palace which dominates this print was designed by Sir Christopher Wren
The first important resident of the Palace was Cardinal Wolsey, who took over the pre-existing property in 1514. Wolsey extended the building and provided a suite for Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. After Wolsey fell out of favour with the King, Henry VIII took over Hampton Court. The palace retained its Tudor character into the reign of Charles I, who resided there as king and prisoner. Parliamentary forces took control of Hampton Court in 1645, and it later became a residence for Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector. On the restoration of the monarchy, Charles II added a suite of rooms, but the major alterations to the palace as we know it today came in the reign of William and Mary. Much of the old Tudor palace was destroyed in the process. Unfortunately, the King did not live to enjoy his new palace, dying in 1702 after a fall from his horse. Work continued on the palace under Queen Anne and George II. He completed the Queen’s Apartments and commissioned William Kent to design a suite of rooms for his second son, the Duke of Cumberland. It was during the reign of George II that this print was produced.
About the artist
Jacques Rigaud, a French draughtsman and etcher mainly of landscapes and topographical views, made numerous drawings of gardens in his home country. Sometime in the 1730s he visited England where he continued to draw views of parks and country estates. Rigaud was commissioned by Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington to make a series of views of the gardens of Chiswick House in London. However, following a disagreement with his patron, the drawings were never published. The Royal Gardener at Stowe, Charles Bridgeman, later commissioned him to draw 16 views of the gardens he had designed at Stowe to be made into a series of plates.