Hampton Court Palace

Category: Tourist attractions

Hampton Court Palace is a former royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south west London, England.

The palace is located 11.7 miles (18.9 km) south west of Charing Cross and upstream of Central London on the River Thames. It is currently open to the public as a major tourist attraction. The palace’s Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

The Knights Hospitaller had operated a farm on the site since 1236. In 1505, the Lord Chamberlain, Sir Giles Daubeney, leased the property and used it to entertain Henry VII. King Henry the VIII built 49 other places around England similar in style to Hampton Court, however none remain today.

Thomas Wolsey, then Archbishop of York and Chief Minister to the King, took over the lease in 1514 and rebuilt the 14th-century manor house over the next seven years (1515–1521) to form the nucleus of the present palace.Thomas Wolsey was a big spender and built the finest palace in England at Hampton court it made Henry so jealous that Wolsey ‘gave’ the palace to him.

The few remaining Tudor sections of Hampton Court, which were later overhauled and rebuilt by Henry VIII, suggest that Wolsey intended it as an ideal Renaissance cardinal’s palace in the style of Italian architects such as il Filarete and Leonardo da Vinci: rectilinear symmetrical planning, grand apartments on a raised piano nobile, classical detailing. Jonathan Foyle has suggested (see link) that is likely that Wolsey had been inspired by Paolo Cortese’s De Cardinalatu, a manual for cardinals that included advice on palatial architecture, published in 1510. Planning elements of long-lost structures at Hampton Court appear to have been based on Renaissance geometrical programs, an Italian influence more subtle than the famous terracotta busts of Roman emperors by Giovanni da Maiano that survive in the great courtyard.


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