Hampton Court Palace

David Starkey looks at what impresses the contemporary visitor to Henry VIII's palaces

 Queen Mary II's Bedchamber, also known as Queen Caroline's State Bedchamber.
Queen Mary II's Bedchamber, also known as Queen Caroline's State Bedchamber.

Few buildings have a more obvious, or magnificent, point of entry than Hampton Court. A bridge, lined with the King's Beasts, leads the visitor to the Great Gate, which is surmounted by the arms of Henry VIII. On the far side of the first, or Base, Court is another Gatehouse and another set of royal arms. Inside the Gatehouse a broad, plain staircase leads to the first floor and the Screens Passage of the Great Hall. The Passage is also plain, but the Hall beyond is vast, splendid, gaudy even in the competing colours and textures of tapestries, stained glass and carved and gilded wood. After the Hall comes the Great Watching Chamber. It too is a nobly proportioned room, with a richly fretted ceiling and walls hung with the choisest tapestries.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

X

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week