The Palace of Whitehall: The Water Side

  • About the work
    Location
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: HM Treasury, 1 Horse Guards Road

    If architect Inigo Jones had been given the go-ahead, this immense 17th-century palace would have dominated Whitehall. The proposed palace was designed in a classical style, based on the work of Andrea Palladio (1508-1580). The plans incorporated a Banqueting House, also designed by Jones and built for King James I in 1619, which remains a feature of Whitehall today.

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    King Charles I intended to rebuild Whitehall Palace and create a building that would outshine the impressive Escorial palace, near Madrid, built by Philip II of Spain. Jones created the first set of designs for Whitehall in about 1638, as the issue of how to raise the necessary funds was under consideration. These prints are based on a drawing by John Webb, the clerk and draughtsman to Jones, and represent Jones’s designs. However, sufficient funding was never found for the project and only the Banqueting House was built.

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    Architect and collector Richard Boyle, third Earl of Burlington was greatly inspired by Palladio, Jones and Webb, and owned a collection of architectural drawings by all three architects. Burlington wrote ‘The Designs of Inigo Jones’, in which many of the drawings, including this example, were reproduced.

  • 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.
    Engraver Pierre [Peter] Charles Canot is thought to have been born in France in c.1710; the brother of painter Philippe Canot. He was presumably in London by c.1735, when he produced hunting prints after paintings by John Wootton. A further set of prints, after marine works painted by Peter Monamy, were published in 1746. In 1758 he began a lasting collaboration with marine artist Richard Paton. The outbreak of the Seven Years' War brought commissions for depictions of the many naval engagements. He exhibited 19 works at the Society of Artists from 1760 to 1769 and was elected one of the original associate engravers of the Royal Academy in 1770, exhibiting there until 1776. Canot died at his home in Hampstead Road, in the winter of 1777-78.
    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.

    John Webb was born in Smithfield London. Webb became clerk and draughtsman to Inigo Jones at a young age, living with him from the age of about 17. On Jones’s death in 1652, Webb and his wife inherited the architect’s books, drawings and a sum of money, and Webb went on to establish himself as an architect in his own right.
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  • Details
    Title
    The Palace of Whitehall: The Water Side
    Date
    published 29 March 1748
    Medium
    Engraving
    Acquisition
    Purchased from William H Robinson Ltd, December 1948
    GAC number
    654