In this 17th-century view of Whitehall the Holbein Gate can be recognised as the dark grey tower with turrets to the right of Banqueting House. In front of the gate is the Tiltyard gallery. To the right is the Cockpit building, with its octagonal roof. Originally used for cockfighting, by this period the Cockpit served as a theatre. A group of figures in the foreground includes King Charles II and his dogs, accompanied by the Duke of York or Prince Rupert. The Royal Coach and a detachment of Coldstream Guards are seen to the left.
In 1669 the naval administrator, MP and diarist Samuel Pepys commissioned tempera paintings of ‘the four houses of the King, White Hall, Hampton Court, Greenwich and Windsor’ from the painter Hendrick Danckerts, to hang in his dining room. However, Danckerts' most important patron was King Charles II, whose commissions from the artist also included paintings of his palaces. By 1688 there were 29 works by Danckerts in the Royal Collection, 15 of which remain today.
Several examples of painted views of Whitehall attributed to Danckerts now exist. A similar painting to this example, described as ‘style of Hendrick Danckerts’, was sold through Christie’s, South Kensington, in 1997.
Hendrick Danckerts was born to a Catholic family in Holland. His elder brother, Jan, was also an artist. In 1651 he entered the Guild of St Luke in The Hague as an engraver but later turned to painting. He visited Italy (c.1653-57) with his brother, before settling in London. In 1669 Danckerts was commissioned to paint four panels for Samuel Pepys and a view of the fortress at Tangier for Charles II. The king later commissioned classical landscapes and views of his palaces and fortresses. Other commissions included a view of Plymouth citadel for the Earl of Bedford (1676) and views of Plymouth, Windsor and Penzance for John Robartes (1678). In c.1679 the threat to Catholics, following the Popish Plot, drove Danckerts to return to Holland.
depth: 3.50 cm, height: 105.00 cm, width: 225.00 cm
Purchased from Trove Antiques, February 1976
Collection of art collector and philanthropist Louisa Caroline Baring, Lady Ashburton (née Stewart-Mackenzie; 1827-1903); by descent to Ashburton’s son-in-law, British peer and Liberal politician William Compton, 5th Marquess of Northampton (1851-1913); by descent to Northampton’s daughter, Margaret Louisa Lizzie, Baroness Loch (née Compton; 1886-1970); by whose executors sold through Christie's, London, on 20 June 1975 (Lot 114); with Trove Antiques; from whom purchased by the Department of the Environment in February 1976
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