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Representations of Inigo Jones’s Banqueting House: Development of Sketches and Architectural Symbolism

Jérémy Filet
p. 173-196

Résumés

Cet article propose une analyse des différentes représentations de la Maison des Banquets d’Inigo Jones. Une première partie rappellera brièvement les étapes de la conception de la bâtisse et exposera une interprétation récente des différentes influences italiennes d’Inigo Jones quant aux choix architecturaux pour ce bâtiment. À la lumière de ces éléments, nous pourrons mieux expliquer l’arrière-plan d’un portrait d’apparat de Jacques I peint par Paul van Somer en 1620. Nous montrerons en quoi ce tableau nous révèle, si ce n’est une esquisse de la Maison des Banquets inconnue à ce jour, une autre proposition d’Inigo Jones pour la construction du bâtiment. Une dernière partie analysera le symbolisme de ce lieu pendant et après l’exécution de Charles I d’Angleterre pour les étrangers contemporains de la décapitation. Nous traiterons plus particulièrement deux représentations qui sont, pour nous, les modèles des différentes images de l’exécution du roi. Nous terminerons par la réception et le symbolisme de cet édifice au sein des Îles Britanniques lors de la réhabilitation de Charles I après la Restauration.

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Texte intégral

I would like to thank Mrs. Françoise Mathieu and Mr. Raphaël Tassin for their helpful and insightful criticism and ideas, as well as Mrs. Nathalie Collé for her kind, extensive re-readings.

  • 2  Some specialists have argued that the architect of this building was John of Padua, but it was mor (...)

1In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the ideals of the Italian Renaissance began to spread all over Europe, influencing its arts and architecture. The British Isles were no exception. The very first traces of the Italian Renaissance in England can be found in John Thynne’s (1515-80) Somerset House (1551),2 even if the first assumed attempt to copy Italian Renaissance models was by John Shute (†1563), who nicknamed it the “new fashion.” In spite of Shute’s innovations, the Renaissance ideals in architecture only became truly popular in England with Inigo Jones’s Queen’s House (1616) and Banqueting House (1622).

  • 3  The Banqueting House burnt down as some servants were burning New Year’s Eve waste inside the buil (...)

2Hubert de Burgh, the 1st Earl of Kent (4th creation), first ordered the construction of a banqueting house in Whitehall in 1243. Unfortunately, no architectural elevation of the original structure remains. The only extant plan available today is that of the 1607 Banqueting House. The first permanent Banqueting House, built for James I, burnt down on 12th January 1619.3 After the fire, James I commissioned Inigo Jones to build a new edifice. Yet the House as it exists today in London does not comply with Jones’s original plans, and therefore raises various questions about how and why the original design was not followed.

  • 4  Only two articles can be found on that subject. In one, the symbolism of the Banqueting House is n (...)

3The Banqueting House has received much critical attention by art historians such as John Summerson, David Watkin and John Alfred Gotch, and more recently George Worsley, but they have mostly examined the structure from an architectural perspective. They have also, for example, studied Jones’s life, discussed his Palladian inspirations and described the architectonic of the House. Moreover, they have analysed the impact the Banqueting House had on the spread of Renaissance aesthetics throughout England. A pictorial depiction of the House, however, was rarely attempted, whilst the symbolism of the Banqueting House for this period has been largely overlooked.4

  • 5  I will base my analysis on “Architectura Picta, la Représentation de l’Architecture dans la Peintu (...)
  • 6  Only two sketches (which are stored in the Chatsworth Collection) are known today.

4In this article, I thus propose to highlight the symbolical value of the Banqueting House and to provide an innovative understanding of its initial conception and reception. To do so, I will use a fairly new method recently employed by art historians, which might improve both our knowledge in buildings’ construction process and in their initial reception. I will exploit the architecture in the background of historical paintings and engravings in order to reveal new information about Jones’s Banqueting House.5 I will primarily comment on some of Jones’s influences for the Banqueting House and unveil the relevance of Jones’s architectural choices, which were dictated both by James I’s tastes and purposes for the Banqueting House and Jones’s knowledge of Palladio’s and Scamozzi’s works. This information will then enable me to elucidate two different types of representations of Jones’s Banqueting House. On the one hand, I will analyse a royal portrait of James I by Paul van Somer in 1620. Although painted before the completion of the Banqueting House in 1622, the painting already showed the finished building which van Somer could not have seen, as it was common for paintings to incorporate projected buildings into an already existing background. The present article is thus a contribution to our knowledge of such a practice. As a result, close observation of the background of James I’s portrait will provide new evidence of a third sketch for the Banqueting House, which has remained lost to this day.6 Engravings which were widely exhibited to a British or foreign audience will be studied. What this analysis will demonstrate is that the architectural environment in the illustrations of Charles I’s execution in 1649 reveals much information about the Banqueting House, including its international impact and monarchical symbolism.

*

5Jones, the “picture maker,” was a unique artist who attracted the favours of powerful patrons. In 1598, he went on his first formative trip to Italy, with Roger Manners, the 5th Earl of Rutland (1576-1612), where he learnt Italian and spoke it fluently. On this journey, which ended in 1603, he also purchased Andrea Palladio’s (1508-80) Quattro Libri Dell’Architettura, which was published in its first integral edition in Venice in 1570. He bought it from Palladio’s disciple Vincenzo Scamozzi (1548-1616), whom he met there. When he met Scamozzi, Jones wrote that the architect “hath resolved me in this in the manner of voltes” (Burns 129). On his second trip, with his patron Thomas Howard, the 21st Earl of Arundel (1585-1646), Jones discovered Rome, Venice, Florence, Padua and Vicenza. He began his Italian tour just after being appointed Surveyor of the King’s Works on 27th April 1613. During his second trip, Jones annotated his copy of Palladio’s Quattro Libri, visiting the old antique ruins rather than observing changing Italian architectural style. The architect studied Vitruvius and observed the Italian buildings in the cities he visited.

  • 7  This kind of frontispiece is a pattern in Palladio’s architecture which can be found in many of hi (...)
  • 8  The “Palazzo Della Libreria” was planned to be constructed by Sansovino in 1537 but it was only bu (...)
  • 9  Taking his inspiration from Greek architecture, Palladio stated that entrances had to be surmounte (...)
  • 10  Whitehall Palace was huge at the time, with close to 1,500 rooms, and the Banqueting House was one (...)

6Jones’s observation of transalpine architecture obviously influenced him for his two sketches of the Banqueting House. On the first sketch (Fig. 1) the presence of a frontispiece surmounted by three statues in the middle of the building recalls Palladio’s style, as specifically expressed in San Gorgio Maggiore (1565), or even the Piovene villa (1539-40) in Vicenza.7 The second draft presents alternating triangular and segmental pediments lying on consoles on the first level, which are certainly inspired by Palladio’s Palazzo Porto in Vicenza. The idea of the swags of flowers that link the second stage’s composite capitals possibly came from Jacopo Sansovino, who uses the same type of flower festoons for his Logetta (1540) or for his Libreria Marciana (1537)8 in Venice. Interestingly enough, the place of the frontispiece is quite unusual on these drafts since the latter is normally used to indicate the entrance of a building.9 As the entrance was on the side, the frontispiece would also have had to be there. Jones may have chosen to put the frontispiece on the major facade of the edifice owing to the configuration of Whitehall Palace at that time. The Banqueting House was one of the buildings that surrounded the main court of Whitehall. As a result, it would have been better to place the decorative frontispiece on the side facing the middle of the court.10 Moreover, the edifice stands on rusticated stone, which is a distinctive feature of Italian Renaissance architecture.

Figure 1: Jones’s first sketch for the Banqueting House

Figure 1: Jones’s first sketch for the Banqueting House

© Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

Figure 2: Jones’s second sketch for the Banqueting House

Figure 2: Jones’s second sketch for the Banqueting House

© Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees

  • 11  This appears to be believed by Hart & Tucker who wrote: “Certainly Jones’ ‘religious’ reading of t (...)
  • 12  “Wherefore they always place the Doric under the Ionic, the Ionic under the Corinthian, and the Co (...)
  • 13  “What cannot be denied, though, is that, […] Jones studied Scamozzi’s L’idea in great detail and t (...)
  • 14  The author gives the example of the elevation of the palazzo Trissimo Sul Corso in Vincenza, the P (...)
  • 15  Christiane Hille explains that “[t]he well-balanced proportion of a double cube for the Great Hall (...)

7In reality, the house is more similar to the second sketch (Fig. 2): it is less ornate, and the frontispiece has totally disappeared. The modern facade is based on pilasters on both sides and ¾ columns in the middle. These create an entasis for the central part; the simple pilaster in the angle, as shown in the first sketch, has been improved to become a doubled corner pilaster in the constructed edifice. The canonical superimposition was not chosen by Jones who, instead, used the Ionic order for the lower floor and the Composite order for the upper floor. Consequently, one might think that Jones went against the fundamental principle of the suite of orders11 which Palladio defended in the sixteenth century: “Onde sempre il Dorico si porrà sotto il Ionico: il Ionico sotto il Corinthio; & il Corinthio sotto il Composito.”12 However, Jones’s choices for the capitals and the orders are not Palladio’s, but those in fact exposed in Scamozzi’s L’idea della architettura universale (1615).13 The Ionic order with angled volutes are typical of Scamozzi’s Ionic order (L’idea II.101). Gilles Worsley indeed argues that “Jones adopted Scamozzi’s Characteristic Hierarchy of the orders, Composite superimposed over Ionic, something found repeatedly in Scamozzi Palazzi but not in those of Palladio” (Worsley 104).14 He adds that “[t]he base of the orders used by Jones [for the Banqueting House] followed Scamozzi, not Palladio” (Worsley 107). By choosing Scamozzi’s influence for the superimposition of the orders, Jones aimed at producing an effect of harmony for the Banqueting House15 as he decorated both capitals with volutes which create an obvious link between the entablatures of both floors.

  • 16  Jones did not model those statues in the 1621 Banqueting House, which was in the middle of a heter (...)
  • 17  The eighteenth-century Italian artist had many contacts with England. For instance, he studied as (...)

8One can also suppose that the statues of the frontispiece, originally planned to be added on the top of the axes of the columns and pilasters in Jones’s second sketch, were removed from the real building.16 The 1746 “View of the Banqueting House,” by Antonio Visentini (1688-1782), is particularly suggestive of the interactions between images and reality. The artist added statues on his representation of the Banqueting House since he was aware that the Venetian Bibliotheca Marciana was one of Jones’s sources of inspiration for the building; he thus represented the Bibliotheca Marciana statues on top of the Banqueting House. Indeed, Visentini’s training as a painter, an architect17 and an engraver gave him the necessarily background to be able to recognize Jones’s inspiration for the Banqueting House, and compare both buildings in his work of art to show their similarities. Visentini’s View thus displayed the Bibliotheca Marciana as a background image both before and after the construction of the Banqueting House, being its predecessor initially, and later inspiring its representation.

9The absence of these statues on the real House is however not surprising considering the English taste for geometry; the construction is more even without these elements. The suppression of the frontispiece for the actual building may have been obvious for Jones because the entrance is on the side, and a frontispiece without an entrance would not make sense, even if he wanted to use it for decorative purposes only. The Banqueting House was completed in 1622 and Jones presented a new innovative type of English building based on a Palladian conception of the Renaissance, but definitely influenced by Scamozzi’s architectural elements. He also adapted his building to the English architectural taste and also to the King’s purposes for the Banqueting House. The will of the monarch was clearly stated in a letter by Richard Daye in which the latter wrote: “they say His majesty hath a desire to build [Whitehall] new again in a more uniform sort” (Daye in Colvin 139).

  • 18  We know that, after the creation of the “commission for buildings” on 15th May 1615, the king exer (...)

10The coherence of the building was requested by James I18 who wanted a symbol of peace and power to be erected in the middle of his Whitehall Palace. We can assume that the king needed that symbol since he felt threatened by a lack of faith in the divine right of kings and mistrust of his Catholic sympathies, and the political issues that Elizabeth I had to face during her reign. In 1598, James I had had to reaffirm, in The Trew Law of Free Monarchies, that “Kings are called Gods; they are appointed by God and answerable only to God.” He was also the first monarch to link the crown of Scotland and England and had a strong desire to place his reign under the sign of peace. A Latin inscription intended to be displayed on the Building is a clear reminder of that:

  • 19  Translated by Gregory Martin (Rubens). From the Latin Calendar of State Papers, James I, 1857-1872(...)

From the guardian spirit to the visiting viewer. James, first king of Great Britain built from the ground up this hall, which strikes the eye by its majesty and speaks most magnificently of the soul of its Lord, razed when scarcely made of Brick, but now the equal of any marble buildings throughout Europe, intended for festive occasions, for formal spectacles, and for the ceremonials of the British court; to the eternal glory of his name and of his most peaceful empire, he left it for posterity. In the year 1621.19

  • 20  During the last stages of completion of the edifice, in 1622, a masque was performed there, which (...)

11Traditionally, a banqueting house served several functions including hosting royal receptions, holding banquets and receiving distinguished guests such as ambassadors. However, James I mostly used Jones’s Banqueting House to render judgment, to give audience and to hold the services of Healing. Additionally, it was used as a hall for all royal masques and the architect himself staged many court masques there.20 We also know that kings often used great buildings to show their power and to exhibit their wealth. John Summerson specifies in “The Surveyorship of Inigo Jones” that the “[commission for buildings] laid the greatest emphasis on prestige and amenity” (Summerson in Colvin 141). Moreover, this Banqueting House was to host the marriage of Charles I with the daughter of Philipp III of Spain. The so-called “Spanish match,” which James I wanted to achieve in order to link his dynasty with the Catholic Habsburg in the 1620s, was thus part of his will to keep peace in Europe:

Just as his daughter Elizabeth had in 1613 married one of the foremost Protestant princes in Europe, the Elector Palatine, so now he hoped to achieve the counterbalancing half of his strategy (of peace), by bethroning his son and heir to the first Catholic Hapsburg Princess. (Newman 233)

12Based on this context, I will now analyse an official royal portrait of James I painted in 1620 which represents Jones’s Banqueting House in its background. The king asked Paul van Somer (1576-1621) to depict him in Whitehall Palace with the Banqueting House in the background, thereby exhibiting his supremacy and the strength of his reign.21 The Flemish painter was commissioned by the monarch to paint him in his coronation robes.22 On this oil on canvas, James I is crowned and wearing the full ceremonial outfit with the badge of the Order of the Garter. The king made precise iconographical demands as he wanted to be represented with the regalia: the sceptre in his right hand and the orb in his left hand. The motto of the king, “diev et mon droit,23 surrounds his head and can be noticed on the windows. What is interesting here is that this work of art was painted in 1620 whereas the real building was only begun on 1st June 1619 and was not finished until 31st March 1622. This can explain the differences between the painted version of the Banqueting House and the current edifice.24 James I wanted the building to appear on t his portrait to show his involvement in an inventive work of architecture, even though the House had not been completed yet. He was thus presented as a sort of patron who encouraged innovation in art. Moreover, as James VI of Scotland, he truly wanted to convey a sense of power and establish his authority over two different kingdoms. This will to represent union and peace was also demonstrated later by his son, Charles I, who ordered the painting of the ceiling of the Banqueting House by Rubens one part, entitled “The union of the Crowns of England and Scotland,” depicts James I during his coronation. He is given a crown of laurel by an allegory of Victory, and the state crown by an angel (Jeffé 61-63).

  • 25  Stephen Orgel explained that the notion of verticality in architecture was often linked with kings (...)

13We can wonder how John van Somer was able to represent the Banqueting House with such a different emphasis on the projected central part. The most recognisable alteration of Jones’s project is the presence of a column which is abutted onto a corner pilaster on both floors. The use of the pilaster for the two central spans, contrary to the use of columns in both angles, also creates a projection on both ends of the facade. Moreover, the small emphasis on each column creates a different effect of relief, like flutings. The use of columns instead of pilasters for the side axes is also important because of the symbolism attached to that piece of architecture. During the Renaissance period, the column was the symbol of kingship25 and it constituted the link between the earth (the basement) and the sky (the capitals). The signification of the column was also used by Shakespeare in his plays under the reign of the Virgin Queen (Cunin 79). Architectural references were used to denote kingship, often associating social architecture with social order (Cunin 79). King Lear is banished from his palace; in Measure for Measure, architectural metaphors are used to insist on the sovereigns’ duties; and Henry VI describes the kings as “Brave peers of England, pillars of the State” (I.1.72). The parallel drawn between kingship and architecture can also be read on the 1630s Leominster Hotel: “Like columns doo upprop the fabrik of a building so noble gentri dos support the honour of a kingdom” (Howard 40). Jones himself used architectural symbolism in his masques. Jones and James I thus preferred columns to pilasters because of their symbolism: they reaffirmed the principle of a monarch appointed by God, which was being questioned at the time.

  • 26  The “Bibliotheca Marciana” is the other common name of the “Libreria Marciana,” which Visentini al (...)
  • 27  Jones was in Venice during his trips and saw the Bibliotheca Marciana.
  • 28  See also Redworth.
  • 29  “The correspondence between the upper orders was not so straightforward, but none the less coheren (...)

14What is more, the processing solution for the angles shown in van Somer’s painting strongly recalls the 1537 Bibliotheca Marciana26 that Jones saw during his trips to Italy.27 This processing solution was even chosen by Palladio himself for San Francesco della Vigna, a church he built in 1562, as well as for his Rialto Bridge project in 1554. Jones, who was familiar with Palladio’s work, was certainly able to design such a facade. Another alteration is to be seen in the capitals of the columns since the building represented in the painting displayed Composites over Ionic capitals instead of the expected Corinthian over Ionic. In 2001, Vaughan Hart and Richard Tucker proposed a religious interpretation of the superimposition of the Composite over the Ionic. They explained that the composite as a luxurious capital is a known symbol of Catholic opulence which contrasts with the English Puritan austerity of the time. The use of this unusual superimposition, they argued, is thus a concession made to the Catholics in the context of the Spanish match.28 They therefore assume that “Somer presents the building as part of a metaphor, not only of Divine Right, but also of James’s cultivation of Christian accord” (164). However, one can wonder if this architectural superimposition could really be the production of van Somer. We have already stated that a precise knowledge of Palladio’s architecture was needed to conceptualise the facade of the Banqueting House presented in the portrait. Moreover, the use of very precise alteration in the bases of the columns and in their capitals could only have been done by an artist who would have studied Scamozzi’s architectural drawings in detail. Even though the choice of the Composite order instead of the Corinthian is a concession made by James I to the Catholics – since the portrait was probably to be copied and sent to other monarchs’ courts in Europe –, the type of Volutes used is too specific to Scamozzi’s architecture to be a coincidence.29 Consequently, the Banqueting House painted in the background of the portrait must have been Jones’s work and not van Somer’s as we have no reason to believe that the Flemish painter’s architectural knowledge was advanced enough to produce the elevation we can see in the portrait.

15Jones thus created, on behalf of James I, a building that suited the architect’s evolving view of what architecture should be. Following Vitruvius’s principle of decorum (Hart & Tucker 151) and Aristotle’s idea of magnificienta (Hart & Tucker 154) which are so present in the conception of the Banqueting House, Jones managed to create a building which is influenced by both Palladio’s and Scamozzi’s conceptions of the Renaissance. It was then very unlikely that Paul van Somer could have imagined such alterations on the Banqueting House facade on its own. As a consequence, the background of the painting was clearly based on a sketch drawn by Jones himself. This also reveals the existence of another project for the Banqueting House, represented behind James Ia. James I wanted the Banqueting House in the background of his portrait in the context of the Spanish match, and that is why that elevation was represented in van Somer’s work of art. We may reasonably believe that the painter had seen a drawing from Jones’s sketchbooks as the two artists knew each other very well,30 but more probably had James I asked Jones to give his portraitist a representation of the future edifice31 as part of his political propaganda therefore directly displayed in his ceremonial portrait.

  • 32  De Meyer offers a symbolic interpretation of the decapitation: “La décapi-tation offre un symbole (...)
  • 33  “Warrant to Execute Kinge Charles the first–AD 1648” (London: Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/ JO/10 (...)

16The Banqueting House, an architectural symbol of power and strength, was transformed after the Civil War. The king lost the war and was put on trial and beheaded,32 and some Members of Parliament chose the Banqueting House as the place of the execution.33 This building was a most symbolic location for what would later be judged as a “murder,” as it was a symbol of royal power and of the monarchy of divine right. Jennifer Scott wrote that Charles I ironically had to walk through the Banqueting House right before his beheading. Thus, one of the very last images he saw before his death was Rubens’s ceiling, which he had ordered to show his father’s power as well as his own under the protection of the Almighty. Anne-Laure de Meyer defended this idea when she stated:

[la Banqueting House] lieu de faste royal et exemple architectural de la grandeur monarchique et du triomphe des arts, cet édifice dissone avec la déchéance du corps du roi. Loin de contribuer à la désacralisation de la monarchie, il rappelle plutôt sa grandeur passée et accentue le tragique de la scène. (126)

  • 34  Anonymous German engraving found in Theatrum Europaeum (1663) 840. Available at <http://www.britis (...)
  • 35  De Meyer noticed the minute detail of the dog and of the crowd that is emotionally devastated by t (...)

17Nonetheless, it can be ascertained that the Banqueting House was chosen on purpose by the Parliamentarians to reverse that symbol; the “past greatness” of the monarchy is used by the newly established tyranny to remind everybody of the guilt of the King who had betrayed his country. He was thought to be disloyal for failing to call a parliament during the “eleven years of Tyranny.” The message was conveyed by the choice of the edifice as a setting of the regicide. However, de Meyer’s example of the “Endhauptung des Konigs in Engelandt”34 leads us to think about the tragic dimension of the execution.35 Furthermore, the decapitation of Charles I was a world premiere and it was swiftly represented by many continental artists. This was not well-regarded in England just after the regicide.

18Most of the depictions of the Banqueting House available show striking similarities: the edifice is reduced to one floor, and constructed with Ionic pilasters only. Furthermore, there is no single overhanging in the middle, but a series of entases at the level of the entablature for each column of the facade. These patterns can be explained by the fact that many prints are copied from two possible sources of inspiration, and the constitutive elements used to depict the Banqueting House in the background are reused several times in the illustrations with slight differences. On the one hand, there is a print exhibited at the Scottish National Gallery, produced in 164936 and attributed to the Royalist artist John Weesop37 as he was in London at the exact moment of the execution.38 On the other hand, there is a Dutch etching created in Amsterdam in 1649, “Charles I on the scaffold” (in Tragicum theatrum actorum et casuum tragicorum Londini publice celebratorum, Amsterdam, 1649), which is said to have been engraved just a few weeks after the event (Corns 250). When an artist copied a print, he engraved what he saw directly on his plate, which had to be turned over in the printing process. The result is the exact inversion of the originally engraved version. Hence we can say that “Charles I on the scaffold” inspired two other engravings: the German “Endhauptung des Konigs in Englandt,” and a Dutch depiction of the execution,39 which are essentially the same but are inverted for the benefit of the scene. The Banqueting House is represented in the same way with segmental pediments above the windows. What definitely reveals the copying is, among other details, the figure of the woman collapsing: she was represented in the same way in all the depictions but changes sides each time the plate is reproduced. The representation echoes Laurence Echard’s History of England, which reads like a description of those engravings:

and as the Rumour of his Death spread throughout the Kingdom, Women miscarry’d, many of both Sexes fell into Palpitations, Swoonings and Melancholy and some, with sudden Consternations, expired. (310)

  • 40  Unfortunately, the artists who produced these German illustrations are unknown. The first illustra (...)

19It could also be speculated that the other depictions of the regicide were directly copied from “Charles I on the Scaffold,” but the presence of triangular pediments suggests the influence of another print. The first illustration which shows triangular pediments is “An Eyewitness Representation of the Execution of King Charles I (1600-49) of England, 1649.” On this representation, medallions with portraits of Charles I and details of the scene are added, and these features can also be found on two other prints 40; the only visible differences concern the king’s subjects standing on the roofs of the Banqueting House and around the building. These illustrations were not produced by British people, and they were viewed by foreigners: the allusions to the Banqueting House had to be telling although the depictions of the edifice were not accurate. The building is reduced to a few meaningful and eye-catching elements columns, windows and pediments to insinuate the presence of the Banqueting House.

  • 41  The engraving is available at <http://anglicanhistory.org/charles/> (accessed 18th March 2013).
  • 42  See “Charles I as Jacobite Icon,” 263-87, and Joan Raymond, “Popular Representations of Charles I, (...)

20In the early eighteenth century, some representations of the execution of the king could be found in the British Isles. For instance, an engraving in a 1710 broadsheet about the decapitation of Charles I (Corns 271) illustrates the Banqueting House with impressive accuracy. John Sturt (1658-1730) had obviously seen the edifice as he accurately reproduced the order of the columns and the alternation of the pediments. He drew the processing solution of the angle, the overhanging in the middle, and two floors for the Banqueting House. The engraver (or the commissioner) of the plate showing the “Martyrdom of Charles I”41 was no doubt a royalist and wanted to emphasize the meaning of the Banqueting House as a symbol of royal power by depicting it meticulously. Moreover, this representation was published in the year of the impeachment of high church divine Henry Sacheverell, at a time when British people had renewed interest in representations of Charles I as a martyr.42 Laura Knoppers argued that the engraving was printed the day of Charles II’s anniversary to attract support for him (270). The Banqueting House was used to remind the audience of the power of James I. The engraving shows both a great architectural achievement under his reign and the martyrdom of Charles I so as to arouse sympathy for the Stuart dynasty, then in exile. There, the interest was dynastic, displaying Charles II as the worthy heir of James I’s power, but also as a martyr, like his father. Knoppers added that “Reviving the martyr king enabled Jacobites to reconcile the appearance of defeat with sanctity of divine right, to transform misfortune into moral and spiritual victory, shame into glory” (264). The Image of the martyr king is here enhanced by the symbolism of the building in front of which he is executed. The Banqueting House as a reminder of the past glory of James I’s reign contrasts with the execution and fits with the message the Jacobites wanted to convey with such images. Even though the audience for that kind of representation was familiar with the building, the Banqueting House had to be accurately represented since it was a strong symbol in the political strategy of the Jacobites.

  • 43  Unknown, a liuely Representation of the manner how his late majesty was beheaded uppon the Scanfol (...)

21Another noticeable illustration of the sentence is “A lively Representation of the manner how his late Majesty was beheaded upon the Scaffold”43 from the 1660s. This loose-leaf impression also aims at defending the Monarch by showing the hanging of the King’s judges; however, this Banqueting House is not in keeping with the original – not only because the edifice is not the main topic, but also because two architectural elements were used to suggest the existence of the whole construction. Indeed, the Ionic capital of the pilaster in the right angle, and the form of the window, recalling the semi-circular pediments, were suggestive enough of the whole building. One might think that this illustration would use the same symbolism as John Sturt’s. However, this representation was produced in the British Isles for a British audience, and its aim and context of production were therefore completely different. What is important in this depiction is not the execution of Charles I but the hanging of the king’s judges. The engraving is a reminder of the “murder” of Charles I and of the guilt of his executioner in the context of his son’s restoration. Charles II even declared his father’s execution “a day of fast and humiliation” (Potter in Corns 240) on 13th January 1661. The execution was also presented as the “the fanatic rage of a few miscreants” (A Proclamation quoted in Potter 258 n. 76), and the representations of Charles I as a martyr were encouraged. The king’s execution was also publicly re-enacted with the hanging of the exhumed carcases of famous regicides such as Ireton, Bradshaw and Cromwell himself (Potter in Corns 244). As a result, “A lively Representation of the manner how his late Majesty was beheaded upon the Scaffold” does not use the Banqueting House symbolism displayed in John Sturt’s engraving but merely shows the building as the background setting of Charles I’s beheading. The reason lays in the fact that the loose-leaf impression is more an attack against the martyr king’s murderers than a reminder of the Stuart’s glory. The engraving is meant to remind viewers of the punishment that awaits the regicides in the context of Charles II’s restoration. Everybody is aware of the 1649 episode and it is thus not necessary to represent Jones’s building with accuracy.

22Some distinguishing features were used to show to the viewer that the building in the background was the Banqueting House. We can notice that the representation engraved to be seen by foreigners shows elements evoking the Banqueting House, such as the presence of columns and the pattern of the pediments over the windows. In the late seventeenth century, accuracy in the depiction of the building was not necessary since the British audience perfectly knew the building, yet the same architectural elements were nonetheless used to recall Jones’s Banqueting House. The presence of the building is more elusive because the representations of the execution were used by Charles II to transform the execution of his father into a one-time event orchestrated by a minority of the British population which had been punished. We could thus surmise that the less acquainted with the construction the audience was, the more eye-catching information the artists had to provide. When early eighteenth-century Jacobite representations display the building with great accuracy, they do so for political purposes only.

  • 44  Sharpe & Lake even argued that the symbolism of the capitals was “quite unfamiliar in early Stuart (...)

23Inigo Jones was the precursor of the use of Renaissance architectural principles and models in England. He perfected his knowledge of Italian architecture and Antique architectonic structure during his trips to Italy with his British patrons. One of his most famous edifices, the Banqueting House, was elaborated after many projects which were far more Palladian than the actual construction itself. One of these drafts may have been lost, but it can be deduced by the observation of van Somer’s portrait of James I. In fact, the architectural details represented in the background of the painting could only have been known by Jones himself, because a very precise knowledge of Italian architecture, of Palladio’s works and Scamozzi’s architectural details was needed to depict such a building. James I wanted the building to appear on his portrait in order to show his involvement in an inventive work of architecture, even though the House had not been completed yet. In the context of the Spanish match, van Somer’s portrait of James I displayed him both as a stable, proud monarch and as a patron who encouraged innovation in art. Following Hart and Tucker’s analysis, the super-imposition in the background of the painting might have been part of James’s artistic propaganda to marry his son to the Spanish Infanta. However, no one can deny Jones’s implication in this project as the symbolism of the capitals was not well-known in the British Isles.44 Jones may have thus followed James I’s indications for the draft provided to van Somer and used the occasion to experiment with Scamozzi’s capitals, which had impressed him so much during his trip to Italy (Sharpe & Lake 230 n. 7).

24On the other hand, the choice of the structural elements of the Banqueting House must have been meaningful to English people, and to Inigo Jones and James I themselves. They were aware of the symbolism of the elements – a symbolism that had been exploited in Shakespeare’s plays during the Elizabethan age. The king used the building as an instrumentum regni which cemented his political authority. He thus strongly linked the previous reign with his own through the presence of a long-lasting edifice which became a landmark for his actions. In England, the Banqueting House was known as a part of Whitehall Palace, but it was the execution of King Charles I that exported its model to the European continent. Its symbolic value was thus enhanced, and a simplistic, almost schematic representation of the Banqueting House was enough to give the whole building a factual presence. As a result, the artists I have mentioned here did not depict the actual House, but mostly a symbolic structure: the symbolism of the building was much more important than the accuracy of its representation. Nevertheless, this symbolism will be reinforced by the Jacobites who depicted the Banqueting House with accuracy when they wanted to enhance the Stuarts’ glory and dynastic relations as part of their political propaganda.

  • 45  This fresco, entitled The Vision of the Cross, was painted by Raphaël’s students Giulio Romano, Gi (...)
  • 46  Bevington & Holbrook suggest that Charles went to Spain against his father’s will and add that “[i (...)

25The analysis of the backgrounds in paintings and engravings has proved effective in the study of the Banqueting House, but also in the study of the Fresco’s background of the Hall of Constantine,45 enlightening us on how Raphael’s contemporaries saw Ancient Rome. The innovative technique based on paying close attention to different types of background depicted in paintings, engravings or other works of art has also proved useful in the work of the “Architectura Picta” group. This method is therefore a useful tool for the history of art and architecture as it enables us to discover new pieces of information on buildings depicted in other pieces of art. It should be more widely applied to other works of art as it allows for new insight into other periods, which may help uncover unknown symbolism or significance of buildings and art works. It has helped us here to reveal, on the one hand, an unknown sketch for a famous building, and, on the other hand its symbolism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Had the Spanish Match succeeded, we could even wonder if the Banqueting House would have been constructed as displayed in van Somer’s portrait. If the superimposition of the capitals is a concession to Catholicism, the building hosting the marriage would have had to be the same as the one displayed in the painting since it would have been the venue presented to Philip III for the wedding of his daughter. However, since Charles I ruined the wedding negotiations by visiting the Infanta, there was no need to respect that project anymore.46 His failure was even penned by Johnson in 1623 and was to be staged in the Banqueting House. “Neptune’s triumph for the return of Albion” was to be danced by Prince Charles to celebrate his return without a Spanish bride, but James I forbade its representation.

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Notes

2  Some specialists have argued that the architect of this building was John of Padua, but it was more likely John Thynne since he was employed by the duke of Somerset at that time (Summerson, Architecture in Britain). The whole history of the building is available at <http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/history/the-tudor-palace> (accessed 11th January 2014).

3  The Banqueting House burnt down as some servants were burning New Year’s Eve waste inside the building. Previous banqueting houses were not permanent ones, and will not be studied in depth here.

4  Only two articles can be found on that subject. In one, the symbolism of the Banqueting House is not studied thoroughly but solely considered as a setting for the beheading of Charles I (De Meyer). The other, more recent one, attempts to explain the architectural choices of Inigo Jones for the actual house but does not tackle its symbolism for contemporaries (Hart & Tucker).

5  I will base my analysis on “Architectura Picta, la Représentation de l’Architecture dans la Peinture (1300-1600),” an international conference held at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris, on 14-16th December 2009. The collected papers of the conference were never published but Christianne Hille’s “The Painted Palaces of James I: On the Architectural Ratio of the King’s Body Politic” features in the first chapter of her book Visions of the Courtly Body (1-70). Her analysis does not focus on engravings and paintings but mostly on how the building and the masques staged in it interacted with court life and politics.

6  Only two sketches (which are stored in the Chatsworth Collection) are known today.

7  This kind of frontispiece is a pattern in Palladio’s architecture which can be found in many of his buildings.

8  The “Palazzo Della Libreria” was planned to be constructed by Sansovino in 1537 but it was only built in 1546. In 1553, books were transferred to the library and the building underwent adjustments by Scamozzi in 1588, after the death of Sansovino in 1570.

9  Taking his inspiration from Greek architecture, Palladio stated that entrances had to be surmounted by a frontispiece: “[…] due colonne, che sportino in fuori, e sostengano il frontispicio, che sàra sopra l’entrata,” i.e. “[…] two columns, separated from the wall, and that hold the frontispiece, which will be above the entrance” (IV.3, my translation).

10  Whitehall Palace was huge at the time, with close to 1,500 rooms, and the Banqueting House was one of the buildings which surrounded one of the courts. Inigo Jones even planned, in 1638, his own new plan for Whitehall palace including his Banqueting House.

11  This appears to be believed by Hart & Tucker who wrote: “Certainly Jones’ ‘religious’ reading of the orders is evident […] but this does not account for why Jones chooses the composite – rather than the Corinthian – and thereby inverted his decorative hierarchy concerning interior and exterior ornament” (160-61).

12  “Wherefore they always place the Doric under the Ionic, the Ionic under the Corinthian, and the Corinthian under the Composite” (Palladio I.XII.15, my translation).

13  “What cannot be denied, though, is that, […] Jones studied Scamozzi’s L’idea in great detail and that it profoundly influenced his architectural thinking” (Worsley 102). The author also gives details about Jones’s knowledge of Scamozzi relying on the architect’s comments in his copy of L’idea.

14  The author gives the example of the elevation of the palazzo Trissimo Sul Corso in Vincenza, the Palazzo Ravischiera in Genoa, the Palazzo Cornaro in Venice, and the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

15  Christiane Hille explains that “[t]he well-balanced proportion of a double cube for the Great Hall of Whitehall Banqueting House seems designed to complement the harmonious reign of James I.” Hart & Tucker seem to express this idea as well: “[…] with the Banqueting House, through applying his study of Aristotle’s Ethics to building, Jones aimed to produce a well ordered architecture – ethically, socially and morally – in the perception of those who viewed it” (164).

16  Jones did not model those statues in the 1621 Banqueting House, which was in the middle of a heterogeneous Whitehall Palace. However, he may have devised some later; on his 1638 plan for Whitehall palace, it is easily noticeable that such statues are shaped, but this palace was never constructed.

17  The eighteenth-century Italian artist had many contacts with England. For instance, he studied as an architectural draughtsman with James Wyatt in the 1760s.

18  We know that, after the creation of the “commission for buildings” on 15th May 1615, the king exerted great influence on almost every construction. The Crown was the new and only constructor of buildings in the whole London area, and the king himself sometimes even worked with the commission.

19  Translated by Gregory Martin (Rubens). From the Latin Calendar of State Papers, James I, 1857-1872, vol. CXXIV, P331, 1621, 130: “Latin transcription for the Banqueting House at Whitehall, on its erection after the fire.”

20  During the last stages of completion of the edifice, in 1622, a masque was performed there, which was the result of a collaboration between Jones and Jonson. Jones was notoriously involved in the creation of masques and was well aware of their link to and influence on the court. That aspect has been widely studied. See, for instance, Sharpe & Lake, Bevington & Holbrook, and Butler.

21  The exact date James commissioned van Somer is not known, and the date of his arrival in England is still being debated among specialists. It could be 1606, according to Booth Tarkington. Heather Meakin specifies that van Somer did not permanently settle in England before 1616.

22  Royal Collection Trust, <http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/404446/portrait-of-james-i-and-vi-1566-1625> (accessed 18th March 2013).

23  This motto has been used since the reign of Henry V (1413-22) and is written in French because it was the language preferred by the English court after the Norman conquest of 1066 by William the Conqueror.

24  Jennifer Scott noticed the difference between the angle of the Banqueting House represented in the background of the portrait and the real House, but she did not try to find an explanation for this alteration.

25  Stephen Orgel explained that the notion of verticality in architecture was often linked with kingship. The king was associated with highness, and architectural elements like columns made the body state closer to God.

26  The “Bibliotheca Marciana” is the other common name of the “Libreria Marciana,” which Visentini also recognised as one of Jones’s sources of inspiration for the Banqueting House.

27  Jones was in Venice during his trips and saw the Bibliotheca Marciana.

28  See also Redworth.

29  “The correspondence between the upper orders was not so straightforward, but none the less coherent. Jones was following the sequence of orders given in Vincenzo Scamozzi’s newly published architectural treatise: L’idea Universale Dell’Architettura (1615), where the composite order is treated, not as an elaboration of the Corinthian but as literally a composite between Ionic and Corinthian, having features of both and logically placed between them” (Newman 236).

30  Jones and van Somer both worked for the Earl of Arundel, and it was the Earl who firstly brought van Somer to England before he was at the service of James I.

31  Jones and the King had a close relationship, and Jones’s role often exceeded his official title of Surveyor.

32  De Meyer offers a symbolic interpretation of the decapitation: “La décapi-tation offre un symbole fort […]: elle prive le condamné de la source de ses actes mais, selon la métaphore de la société comme corps, elle prive le peuple de son dirigeant. Si le roi est, comme l’affirmait Jacques Ier, la tête du corps que forme le pays, lui couper la tête revient à rendre la nation inopérante” (124).

33  “Warrant to Execute Kinge Charles the first–AD 1648” (London: Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/ JO/10/1/297A, 1648). It was clearly written: “[…] the said sentenced-executed for the open street before Whitehall […].”

34  Anonymous German engraving found in Theatrum Europaeum (1663) 840. Available at <http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/collection_object_ details.aspx?objectId=3013208&partId=1> (accessed 18th March 2013).

35  De Meyer noticed the minute detail of the dog and of the crowd that is emotionally devastated by the execution.

36  Unknown artist, An Eyewitness Representation of the Execution of King Charles I of England (1600-49), stored in Bridgeman Art Library, London (private collection). Available at <http://www.art.com/products/p11726773-sa-i1352298/weesop-an-eyewitness-representation-of-the-execution-of-king-charles-i-1600-49-of-england-1649.htm> (accessed 19th May 2013).

37  The small body of work attributable to Weesop is associated exclusively with royalist patrons. His sympathy for the king is nevertheless notorious.

38  <http://www.historicalportraits.com/Gallery.asp?Page=Item&ItemID=255&Desc=The-Duke-of-Richmond-%7C-John-Weesop> (accessed 5th July 2013):
“William Sykes, recorded by Vertue, that ‘Weesep painter came here in the in the time of Vandyke 1641. Liv’d here till 1649, then went away, but said he would never stay in a country, where they cut of their kings head in the face of all the world & was not asham’d of the action.’ Documentary evidence assembled by Oliver Millar has shown that a John Weesop was still living, and presumably working, in London in 1653, whilst a reference to a Mrs Weesop only later in that year may suggest that the painter died in that year.”

39  Unknown artist, engraving available at <http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitLarge/mw129725/The-Execution-of-King-CharlesI?search=sp&sText =the+execution+of+king+charles+I+&firstRun=true&rNo=0> (accessed 6th December 2013).

40  Unfortunately, the artists who produced these German illustrations are unknown. The first illustration is stored at the National Portrait Gallery and available at <http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portraitLarge/mw35443/The-execution-of-King-Charles-I?search=sp&sText=the+execution+of+King+Charles+I+&firstRun= true&rNo=1>. The second one is available at <http://jonesweb4history.weebly.com/uploads/1/5/0/5/15057800/9892195_orig.jpg?586> (both accessed 3rd January 2013).

41  The engraving is available at <http://anglicanhistory.org/charles/> (accessed 18th March 2013).

42  See “Charles I as Jacobite Icon,” 263-87, and Joan Raymond, “Popular Representations of Charles I,” 47-73, in Corns. The commercial success of Eikon Basilike and the famous engraving The Pourtraicture of His Scared Majestie in His Solitudes and Sufferings (1649) made the king a martyr in popular beliefs. He was even canonised after the Restoration.

43  Unknown, a liuely Representation of the manner how his late majesty was beheaded uppon the Scanfold Ian 30:1648: A representation of the execution of the Kings Judges, available at <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_I_execution,_and_execution_of_regicides.jpg> (accessed 5th July 2013).

44  Sharpe & Lake even argued that the symbolism of the capitals was “quite unfamiliar in early Stuart England” (230).

45  This fresco, entitled The Vision of the Cross, was painted by Raphaël’s students Giulio Romano, Giovanni Francesco Penni and Raffaellino del Colle in the Vatican between 1520 and 1524.

46  Bevington & Holbrook suggest that Charles went to Spain against his father’s will and add that “[i]t is by no means clear that Charles went to Spain as the dupe of this father’s pro-Spanish policy” (34).

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Jones’s first sketch for the Banqueting House
Crédits © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees
URL http://1718.revues.org/docannexe/image/367/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 304k
Titre Figure 2: Jones’s second sketch for the Banqueting House
Crédits © Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth. Reproduced by permission of Chatsworth Settlement Trustees
URL http://1718.revues.org/docannexe/image/367/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 304k
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Jérémy Filet, « Representations of Inigo Jones’s Banqueting House: Development of Sketches and Architectural Symbolism », XVII-XVIII, 72 | 2015, 173-196.

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Jérémy Filet, « Representations of Inigo Jones’s Banqueting House: Development of Sketches and Architectural Symbolism », XVII-XVIII [En ligne], 72 | 2015, mis en ligne le 01 avril 2016, consulté le 29 mai 2017. URL : http://1718.revues.org/367 ; DOI : 10.4000/1718.367

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Jérémy Filet

Université de Lorraine

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