Coloured aquatintpublished 1 December 1809
About the work
In this 1809 interior view by Rowlandson and Pugin, the interior of the Banqueting House, Whitehall, is depicted here during the time it was used as the Chapel Royal. Members of the congregation listen to a sermon being delivered by a priest in the pulpit.
After most of the palace was destroyed by two fires in the 1690s, the Banqueting House, one of the few parts to survive, was refitted as a chapel by architect Sir Christopher Wren. An organ was installed on the side of the west wall and opposite it was a pulpit. Pews faced one another across a central aisle. The fashionable box pews, seen here, were rented to members of the congregation, while the less well-off sat on benches.
The building served as the Chapel Royal through to 1890, when it became a museum. In 1962 it was restored and again used as a grand reception hall.
About the artist
Auguste Charles Pugin, artist and architectural draughtsman, was born in Paris but settled in England during the French Revolution. After attending the Royal Academy Schools he worked for architect John Nash in Wales and later in London. Nash’s influence inspired Pugin’s interest in the Gothic style. He illustrated numerous topographical and architectural publications, including Ackermann’s ‘The Microcosm of London’ (1808-10). When, in 1818, he was commissioned to produce plates for ‘Specimens of Gothic Architecture’, he employed a team of architectural students to assist. His architectural designs include the interior of the Diorama in Regent’s Park (1823) in collaboration with James Morgan and the layout of Kensal Green Cemetery (1830).
John Bluck was an aquatint engraver, mainly of topographical views, but also of marine and sporting subjects after his contemporaries. He produced plates for numerous publications.
Thomas Rowlandson, caricaturist and draughtsman, attended the Royal Academy Schools. After his studies he worked in watercolours and developed a style influenced by Gainsborough and French Rococo art. From 1784 he received commissions for publications and later gained the patronage of the Prince of Wales. He also produced satirical images, illustrating well-known scandals and characters. Despite gaining a substantial inheritance in 1789, by 1793 he was in poverty. However, his financial worries eased when he received commissions from Ackermann, which led to his involvement with A. C. Pugin in ‘The Microcosm of London’. Rowlandson later produced sketches for the adventures of ‘Dr Syntax’ (1812-21), also published by Ackermann.