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it was intended to have carried a road straight through the Wilderness and across the old moat, to lead up to the new court, 300 feet long by 230 feet broad, which would have occupied the ground now called “the old Melon Ground” and the intervening space up to the Great Hall. The Court Yard was to be inclosed on the east and west sides by buildings, doubtless the same in style as the rest of the new palace; the north side, towards the avenue, was to be open; and on the south side there were to be, besides other architectural features, a colonnade and several great flights of steps. These were to lead up to the Great Hall, which was to be entered in the centre of its north side, and was to be the vestibule of the palace, whence access was to be obtained through a series of fine spacious new chambers, to the suite already constructed.
The execution of this design would, of course, have involved the destruction of much of the older buildings, which, under the circumstances, fortunately remain to us, such as the old kitchens and the Tudor cloisters. Had it not been for this, we should have had every reason to regret that a scheme, calculated to add so much dignity to Hampton Court, was not carried out, it being especially an approach and entrance, worthy of its size and splendour, that the palace at present lacks.
But beyond this there are among Wren's papers several outline plans, indicating that still more extensive schemes had, at any rate, been sketched out, which would have involved the destruction of the first two Tudor courts at least, if not of nearly the whole of the old palace, and the substitution for them of rectangular blocks in the same classic style as the quadrangle actually built. Of this we have confirmation in what Defoe says: “I have been assured that had the Peace continued, and the King lived to enjoy the continuance of it, his Majesty had resolved to have pulled down all the remains of the old Building ; such as the Chapel, and the large Court within the First Gate, and to have built up the whole Palace after the manner of those two Fronts already done.” “In these,” he goes on to say, “would have been an entire set of Rooms of State for the receiving, and if need had been, Lodging and entertaining any foreign Prince, with his Retinue; also for offices for all
PROPOSED NEW GRAND NORTH ENTRANCE. 331
the Secretaries of State, Lords of the Treasury, and of Trade ; to have repaired to for the Despatch of such Business, as it might be necessary to have done there upon the King's longer Residence there than ordinary; as also Apartments for all the great officers of the Household; so that had the House had two great Squares added, as was designed, there
would have been no room to spare, or that would not have been very well filled. But the King's death put an end to all these things.”
Had they been accomplished, William would indeed have succeeded—as was ever his aim in his works at Hampton Court—in matching the glories of Versailles on the banks of the Thames, and England would have been endowed with one of the vastest and most splendid palaces in Europe.
With such extensive schemes in hand, we shall not be surprised to find that no less than 400 men were daily engaged in expediting the works, against the King's return from Holland, whither he went on June ist, 1699.
But even while abroad, and amid the delights of his old beloved home at Loo, King William was not forgetful of the new palace he was raising at Hampton Court. So anxious was he that everything should be ready when he came back, that, at the end of the month of August, he sent over his housekeeper, Mr. Bryan, from Holland, to announce that he should return at the latter end of September; and that he expected the new apartments at Hampton Court to be ready by that time, for several foreign princes were coming with him, who were to be lodged in that palace, “where all foreign ambassadors were for the future to have their audience.” They were accordingly pushed on with all possible expedition.
Notwithstanding every effort, however, and although workmen were employed without intermission, it was found impossible to have them quite ready in time, though the King's return was delayed until nearly the third week in October.
Four days after his arrival at Kensington, as soon as he could escape from the press of State business, and the receiving of loyal addresses and deputations, he came down to inspect the new buildings, which, in their now almost completed state, pleased him exceedingly. The magnificent Guard Chamber, of which we insert a sketch, excited universal admiration, and the King declared that “the new apartments for good proportions, state and convenience jointly, were not paralleled by any palace in Europe.”
The success of Wren's State Apartments only stimulated him to aim at still further dignifying what was intended to be henceforth the chief residence of the sovereigns of England. Every sort of amusement and opportunity for every kind of sport were to be provided in close proximity to the palace. "Fish ponds and decoys," says Luttrell," are making at Hampton Court; the deer are to be removed out of that Park (i.e., Bushey Park), and trees and shrubs to be planted for a hare warren and pheasants, that there may be always game at hand."
KING WILLIAM'S STATE BEDCHAMBER.
WILLIAM III. IN HIS NEW PALACE-FURTHER WORKS.
In the meanwhile the furnishing of William III.'s rooms was rapidly proceeded with; and to enable the reader to conjure up before his imagination the King's domestic life at Hampton Court, we will describe the internal appearance and contents of one or two of them. First, we will glance at his Great State Bedchamber, a room 33 feet 9 inches long, 23 feet 7 inches wide, and 30 feet high, of which the ceiling painted by Verrio, and the carvings executed by Gibbons, we have already noticed. His bed, formerly in this room, and now in the Private Dining Room, was a great four-poster, with hangings of crimson velvet, decorated in its four angles with immense plumes. In the corner of the room, by the bed, stood, and stands to this day, the King's great clock, six feet high from the ground, with two small dials on its face, telling the day of the month and other intervals of time, and surmounted by decorative figures in ormolu. It was made by the celebrated Daniel Quare, and goes for one year, but though in good repair it is no longer
In other corners of the room, near the doors, were two curious barometers, one made by Tompion, which still remain in the positions they originally occupied, and between the windows is a fine pier-glass, with a border of cut blue glass, also dating from William's time, and bearing his monogram, W. R., surmounted by a crown, in blue and white engraved glass.
There are, besides, in various rooms, some of the old stools and high-backed chairs which belonged to the suite of furniture in this bedroom, and also several large bowls and jars of blue Delft ware, with the King's arms and monogram painted on them, which served both for use and for orngament. The jars, in which bulbous flowers such as tulips and hyacinths were planted, are especially noteworthy. They stand about four feet high.
The fireplace, with its old cast-iron fireback, its carved oak mantelpiece, its looking-glass, and its shelves, whereon are ranged several pieces of old Delft ware and china, forms another salient feature still remaining unaltered; and when we restore, in imagination, the damask curtains that hung by the windows, as well as the tapestry of the “History of Joshua,” and the eight silver sconces, chased with “The Judgment of Solomon,” that formerly decorated the walls, we have a complete and vivid picture of the room as it was when inhabited by William III.
Next to the State Bedchamber is the King's little bedchamber or Dressing Room, which we described in a preceding chapter; and beyond is the King's Writing Closet, a small room, 24 feet by 17, likewise fitted with carved oak panelling, and formerly hung with pea-green damask. Its original furniture consisted of little else than the King's writing bureau, and a few chairs and stools. Opposite the windows of this room is a door in the wainscot, leading to a private staircase, the balusters of which are of most beautiful wrought iron. The stairs lead to a suite of rooms on the ground floor, which must have belonged to the King's apartments, and also to a private way into the garden, so that the King could go out unobserved.
On the other side of the State Bedchamber were: the King's Sitting Room ; next to that his Drawing Room (since used as an “Audience Chamber”); next his Privy Chamber, and lastly, the Great Presence Chamber, which we shall describe on a future page. All these rooms were furnished in a similar way, with tapestries, with Turkey carpets or oriental matting, with stools, chairs, and settees of crimson and other coloured damask, embroidered in silver and gold, or silk worked with exquisite needlework, with pierglasses, with marble tables, and with china cabinets. Much of this furniture can still be seen distributed in various rooms; some of which still retain their beautiful chandeliers, one being of silver gilt, another of silver, and a third of elaborately cut glass.
Other ornaments of King William's rooms deserving of special notice were the fire-dogs, of which several sets remain. One pair is particularly beautiful, and was made in 1696-7, probably by Andrew Moore. Each piece is of silver gilt,