The Queen's Palaces - Buckingham Palace - 1 of 2

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The Queen's Palaces - Buckingham Palace - 1 of 2 script


The Queen's Palaces - Buckingham Palace - 1 of 2


1. He would never commissioned an image of himself as flamboyant and theatrical is this; I think in selecting this painting to hang up in the Buckingham House he would been thinking much more in the terms or reputation of Van Dike as the kind of founding father of English painting and as the supreme exponent of elegance;

2. George III saw this part as his royal duty to promote the arts and in 1768 he founded The Royal Academy to encourage the work of British artists;

3. He was also fascinated by technology and collected all sort of scientific instruments;

4. This looks like an exquisite miniature Roman Temple but is actually an astronomic clock made for George III to be displayed here at Buckingham House: George III loved science and loved gadgets so this is perfect for him because in its way is trying to measure life, The Universe and everything; Here for example you got a 24-hour clock and then in the centre cities around the world so you can see the different times in those cities and round here weve got a map of the heavens, a scene above London;

5. On this side we got a titled dial which shows high and low tides at ports not just around Britain, but around the world; And then finally here weve got the Solar System and the planets such as they were known at the time with The Sun in the centre;

6. George was eager to learn about very latest in science and art from all over Europe; Yet surprisingly he hardly travelled at all;

7. George IIIs world was in some ways a very small one; He didnt travel very much beyond the courts and so he didnt even leave Britain but he wanted to understand the wider world and that meant collecting information and items from abroad and so he used agents in places like Italy to purchase art they could bring back and add to his own collections;

8. Not long after he moved in here, the King heard about an incomparable hold of artwork up for sale in Venice; After a bit of wheeler-dealing he paid twenty grand for the lot that is shipped back into England; They were Italian landscapes, domestic scenes, but most importantly of all, no less than 50 paintings by the celebrated Italian artist Canaletto, the biggest collection of his work anywhere in the world;

9. This is one of his, a view of the magical city that made him famous;

10. In George IIIs way this was the place to come if you wanted the best of art and at a good price;

11. When George III was still a boy, Venice was one of the Europes most romantic destinations, home of art and culture; It was a key stop of what was known as The Grand Tour, when the British aristocracy would travel around the cities of Europe to see great architecture and great paintings, though like some British tourists they often broaden their horizons in rather less noble ways;

12. Venice was renowned for its ladies of easy virtue and so many cultural travellers were distracted by their fleshy delights of Venetian parties;

13. By the 1760s when George III was moving into Buckingham House, Venice was in the doldrums; Trade and banking were depressed, visitor numbers down; The great patrons of Venice were in need of money, a perfect time for any British collector to pick up some art on the cheap;

14. George III artistic envoys knew where to look: The Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana was home to the British counsel Joseph Smith; He was one of the greatest art collectors, the Charles Saatchi of his day;

15. When Joseph Smith lived here, these walls were cramped with paintings that he commissioned from up and coming Venetian artists; They became the in thing for visiting British aristocrats to pull every string and use any family connection to try to get an invite here, so they could admire the collection an then maybe buy a little something to take home;

16. The Joseph Smith fell of hard times and needed cash, so he sold a lot to George III; Along with an impressive hold of books, antiques and coins, were paintings by great masters like Venere, best of all with the paintings by Venices greatest living artist Canaletto;

17. He captured the magic of the city in brilliant detail; All the colourful characters of Venetian life were here;

18. More than 50 of Canalettos paintings would end up in the hands of George III, still today the largest collection of Canaletto in the world;

19. George took his duty as a king seriously, whether is patron of the arts or ensuring a sound education for the royal offspring; But his ideas about discipline didnt always go down well with his 15 children;

20. All of Georges children were subjects of a very strict schooling and education; The boys were required to study from 7 in the morning until 8 at night;

21. The Georges attempt to pass on his ideas of morality and modest living failed;

22. Perhaps is hardly surprising the Kings eldest son rebelled, whereas George III frugal to the point of stinginess, his son, the future George IV indulged in every excess to exhaustion and at this portrait where is distinctly flattering because when it was painted the Prince was actually obese; One MP described him as from head to foot a flaccidity of muscle and rotundity of outline;

23. The Prince of Wales was a man of huge appetites as its shown by his girth; Of course George

24. From about the age of 40 onwards he was to fray at the edges and my God what edges they were! I mean covering almost everything that he sat upon;

25. Once George escaped the stifling restraints of family life in Buckingham House he decided to create a rival palace of pleasure just half a mile away;

26. There was nothing anyway in the country to touch Carlton House for luxury and extravagance; Many of its most sumptuous furnishings are in Buckingham Palace today;

27. The name of this street is really all that is left after the much-admired Carlton House; If it was still here today, it would be one of the Britains most exquisite architectural gems;

28. We can get a sense of its splendour, from a set of watercolours painted at the time; George never tried to redecorate the interiors or buying even more furniture to fill them; His grand receptions and fates where the torque of London;

29. Just to give you an in clinger of quite that opulent it was, at one supper for 3000 guests there was a single table, the entire length of the building incorporating a stream all way along it with live goldfish ;

30. Three years George had carried out the duties of his ailing father; By the time the King died in 1820, George was nearly 60;

31. George IV was now the ruler of the rapidly expanding British Empire and he wanted a palace to reflect that power, St. James was too dingy, Carlton House was clearly much more impressive but it would be never big enough for George and thanks to his endless alterations it was now structurally unsound; So, after all he spent on it, with its exquisite interiors he just pulled it down;

32. Nearly 30 years of building works were reduced to rubble in just a few months, an abrupt end to such a celebrated building;

33. But George had grander ambitions in mind; He would reinvent Buckingham House as a Palace that would outshine even Carlton House, and the man he chose for the job was architect John Nash; And so began one of the most productive and scandalous building partnerships in Londons history;

34. George IV begged the Government for money to reinvent his childhood home; He managed to coax 150.000 pound for what he called repairs and improvements, but pretty soon it was clear that George had no intention of sticking to the budget; He and his architect John Nash transformed what had been a quiet royal retreat into a grand palace; Today that palace is hidden; From the front what you see is a later addition in white Portland stone, but come behind of this side;

35. Youll discover the Palace Nash created in beautiful yellow barn! Stone; This is the original open front of Nashs Palace, designed in a classical style with columns and pediments and above it, heroic frieze depicting Britains victory over Napoleon, land and the sea;

36. But perhaps he saved the best where you least expect to find it; This is the loveliest view of Buckingham Palace in my humble opinion, from the garden; And here you can see Nashs redesigned faade in all his glory; The warm yellow stone, the perfect regal semi-circular bow in the middle, on either side tasteful classical symmetry;

37. Perhaps is a shame that Nashs best handiwork is hidden in the back; On the other hand anyone who wants to see more of Nashs vision doesnt have far to look;

38. John Nash left his signature all over London, from churches to theatres, to sweeping terraces;