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The Old Palace of Whitehall

Hendrick Danckerts

The Old Palace of Whitehall


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ArtistHendrick Danckerts (1625-1680)
TitleThe Old Palace of Whitehall
Date1676-1680
MediumOil on canvas
Exhibition'The Lost Palace of Whitehall 1532-1698', RIBA Heinz Gallery, London, 10 September to 24 October 1998
Dimensionsheight: 71.20 cm, width: 118.60 cm
Inscriptionnone
AcquisitionPurchased from Charles Howard Ltd, December 1956
LocationUK, London, Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall
GAC number3653
 

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Whitehall from St. James's ParkWhitehall from St. James's Park

Oil on canvas

c.1674-1675

GAC 12211

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This view of Whitehall includes, from left to right: the Great Hall; the Banqueting House by Inigo Jones and in front of it the Tilt Yard. The Holbein Gate can be recognised as the dark grey tower with turrets to the right of Banqueting House. At the back are the turrets, battlements and Gothic tracery of the old Banqueting House, built for Queen Elizabeth in 1581 and later converted into a closed tennis court; in front are the lodgings built for the Duke of Monmouth, with a nursery garden overlooking the Park. The Royal Coach, pulled by six horses, leaves Whitehall Palace in the foreground.

In 1669 the naval administrator, MP and diarist Samuel Pepys commissioned paintings of ‘the four houses of the King, White Hall, Hampton Court, Greenwich and Windsor’ from painter Hendrick Danckerts, to hang in his dining room. Several paintings of Whitehall attributed to Danckerts now exist, including a larger example in the Government Art Collection (see GAC 12211).

This view was probably painted shortly after 1675, when the Cockpit playhouse, previously sited to the left of the Old Banqueting House, was demolished and replaced with the red brick building on the right of Danckert’s painting (later used for the Treasury).

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townscape/cityscape

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Hendrick Danckerts

Hendrick Danckerts was born to a Catholic family in Holland. His elder brother, Jan, was also an artist. In 1651 he entered the Guild of St Luke in The Hague as an engraver but later turned to painting. He visited Italy (c.1653-57) with his brother, before settling in London. In 1669 Danckerts was commissioned to paint four panels for Samuel Pepys and a view of the fortress at Tangier for Charles II. The king later commissioned classical landscapes and views of his palaces and fortresses. Other commissions included a view of Plymouth citadel for the Earl of Bedford (1676) and views of Plymouth, Windsor and Penzance for John Robartes (1678). In c.1679 the threat to Catholics, following the Popish Plot, drove Danckerts to return to Holland.