Whitehall Palace

An Architectural History of the Royal Apartments, 1240-1698

Simon Thurley; With contributions by Alan Cook, David Gaimster, Beverly Nenk and Mark Samuel

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Whitehall Palace was the principal residence of the British monarchy from 1529 to 1698, when fire destroyed the majority of the complex. As such, it holds a key place in the architectural, political, and social history of England. This book is the first to discuss the architecture and archaeology of this influential building.

Simon Thurley traces the development of the palace from its origins, using previously unpublished archaeological evidence to establish that York Place, as it was then called, was already one of the largest and most important residences in London before it became a royal palace. Thurley reconstructs the various phases of the palace’s development, showing how successive kings and queens altered the vast sprawling mass of Whitehall to meet their individual needs. He also charts the plans of monarchs to replace the Tudor building with one that might have rivaled the great baroque palaces of Europe, and he reveals the reasons they failed to achieve this. Throughout, the book is illustrated with specially commissioned plans and diagrams of Whitehall as well as unique photographs taken while the palace was being excavated in the 1930s.

Simon Thurley is director of the Museum of London and the author of The Royal Palaces of Tudor England, published by Yale University Press.

"This is an important book. . . . It throws new light on the evolution of the royal lifestyle, as etiquette responded to the tenets of absolutism."—Roy Strong, Country Life

"Simon Thurley, a recognized authority on the royal palaces of Tudor England, has ably used the surviving sources to re-create what Whitehall would have been like at various points in its existence from 1290 to 1690. . . . Thanks to Thurley’s magnificently illustrated book, some of its fascinating history and mysteries have been recovered and revealed."—Ronald Fritz, Sixteenth Century Journal

"Untill Thurley’s comprehensive examination, culminating in this new book, full interpretation had been lacking. This highly readable and extremely informative review begins with the preceding palace of the archbishops of York in 1240. . . . Thurley presents an elegant synthesis of archeological and archival research. . . . Highly recommended for scholars from a variety of disciplines, particularly architecture, archaeology, and history."—Choice

"Whitehall Palace . . . is an architectural history that constantly interrelates form and function, using the full range of archaeological, architectural and historical evidence to present the reader with an understanding of the experience of living in the royal buildings."—Felicity Heal, Times Higher Education Supplement

ISBN: 9780300076394
Publication Date: December 11, 1999
Publishing Partner: Published in association with Historic Royal Palaces
204 pages, 9 3/4 x 12 1/4
170 b/w illus.
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