After the installation of the painted ceiling in 1635, the Banqueting House ceased to be used for masques. It was feared that the flaming and smoky torches used to light the extravagant productions would damage the painting.
From now on masques would be performed in a new, timber-framed building next to the Banqueting House, which became instead the great ceremonial chamber of the court, scene of grand receptions and the traditional ceremonies of court life. It took on the task of being the most prestigious reception room in the palace.
In 1625 the Venetian ambassador reported 'His Majesty received us in a great hall newly built for public spectacles, royally adorned with marvellous tapestries and gold'.
The reception of ambassadors was perhaps its most significant use, an activity which underwent increased use as James I attempted to negotiate a Spanish marriage for his son, Charles, Prince of Wales.
Lead image of James I, copyright The National Portrait Gallery, London