Banqueting House architecture
Ancient Rome in Whitehall
Having travelled to Italy and seen the buildings of the ancient world, Inigo Jones decided to recreate something of their effect in rainy London.
This was supposed to look like a piece of ancient Rome transposed to Whitehall and the effect was extraordinary.
The building was intended for masques, receptions and entertainments but when the painted ceiling by Peter Paul Rubens was installed in the main hall inside, it fell out of use. The smoke from candles during evening occasions began to damage the paintings, so the parties began to be held elsewhere instead.
A revolutionary building
‘This was a revolutionary building in terms of style, as well as being the setting of revolutionary events such as the execution of King Charles I’. Susanne Groom, curator