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Banqueting House at Whitehall

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Banqueting House, Whitehall, London
Banqueting House, Whitehall, London

The Banqueting House at Whitehall is a famous London building, formerly part of the Palace of Whitehall, designed by architect Inigo Jones in 1619, and completed in 1622, with assistance from John Webb. It is located close to the Houses of Parliament. It was on a scaffold in front of the building that King Charles I of England was executed in 1649.

It contains a single two-story double-cube room, with paintings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, that were commissioned by Charles I in 1635, to fill the panelling of the ceiling. The Banqueting House introduced a refined Italianate Renaissance style that was unparalleled in Jacobean England, where Renaissance motives were still filtered through the engravings of Flemish Mannerist designers. The roof is all but flat and the roofline is a balustrade. On the street facade all the elements of two orders of engaged columns, Corinthian over Ionic, above a high rusticated basement, are locked together in a harmonious whole.

The Banqueting House was planned as part of a grand new Palace of Whitehall, but the tensions that eventually led to the Civil War intervened. Later, in the fires that destroyed the old Whitehall Palace, the isolated position of the Banqueting Hall preserved it from the flames.

In 1685 the Banqueting House became the first building ever to use crown glass in its windows.

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