Carlton House

L.W. Cowie takes the reader on a visit to London's Carlton House; an architectural gem with many royal connections and which was converted into a palace for the future George IV.

The history of Carlton House, the shortest-lived and yet the most tasteful and exquisite of London’s vanished royal residences, began in 1709 when the Royal Gardens, which were on the southern side of Pall Mall, were leased by the Crown to Henry Boyle, who was created Lord Carlton in 1714.

As his town residence here he built Carlton House, which is shown in an engraving made by John Kips in about 1710 as a plain, red-brick building of irregular shape designed to obtain the most impressive views of St James’s Park and its own grounds, which were as extensive and secluded as if they had been in the country.

These grounds, which were the redeeming feature of an unremarkable house, were responsible for the beginning of the royal connection. On the death of Lord Carlton in 1725, his nephew, Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, succeeded to the property. He, however, already had a larger house- Burlington House-in Piccadilly and a fine Palladian villa at Twickenham.

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