Posts tagged ‘London’

Hampton Court Palace

Below is a gallery of images from our trip last year to Hampton Court, the world-famous historic royal palace on the banks of the river Thames about 13 miles southwest of central London.

The palace did not start out as a royal residence. It was built from 1516 onwards by Cardinal Wolsey, Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor and Chief Minister. However in 1528, in a vain attempt to ingratiate himself to the notoriously fickle monarch, Wolsey gifted the palace to the king. Henceforth Hampton Court has enjoyed a long and prestigious association with the British royal family.

Henry spent vast fortunes on the palace, literally ensuring that it was fit for a king and his royal court. Subsequent monarchs from Elizabeth I through to Charles II also adapted the buildings to suit their needs. However it was William and Mary and finally Queen Anne who, in the decades either side of 1700, hired Christopher Wren (the architect responsible for St Paul’s Cathedral in London) to radically remodel the east and south wings in a style inspired by Versailles, Louis XIV’s famous palace outside Paris.

Unsurprisingly two centuries of almost constant building and re-development has resulted in a vast, sprawling complex of buildings with a mix of architectural styles. So although aesthetically it may not be the most beautiful palace in the world, it’s rich and fascinating history as the main royal residence of both the Tudors and Stuarts (two of the most famous British royal dynasties) is undeniable.

Under the early Hanovarian kings of Great Britain from George I who came to the throne in 1714 to George III who died in 1820, Hampton Court gradually fell out of favour as a royal residence with both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle being preferred. In 1838 the palace, it’s grounds and the vast expanse of the surrounding Bushy Park was opened to the public, and it has continued as a major tourist attraction ever since.

© Mark Simms Photography (2018)

A Quick Trip to London: China Town

Last weekend we popped down to London to see Harold Pinter’s dark and disturbing comedy “The Birthday Party”…….which was excellent.

Of course we also had a few hours to kill on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning which gave me a few photographic opportunities. This one below is of the Chinese Gate in Soho and is the first of a series of posts from our quick trip to the capital:

China Town, London, England, UK

© Mark Simms Photography (2018)

The British Museum

Whilst we were in London last November we found time to spend a few hours at the magnificent British Museum. Here are a few shots from our visit, starting with a rather foreboding monochrome image of the neo-classical entrance: 

British Museum, London, England, UK

A carved basalt image of Ganesh from Eastern India, circa 1000-1100 AD:

British Museum, London, England, UK

Large stone sculptures were a striking feature of the palaces and temples of ancient Assyria (modern northern Iraq). An entrance to the royal palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) at Nimrud was flanked by two colossal winged human-headed lions:

British Museum, London, England, UK

The three shots below are from a set of stunning sculpted reliefs illustrating the lion-hunting exploits of the last great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (668-631 BC) that were created for his palace at Nineveh. In ancient Assyria, lion-hunting was considered the sport of kings, symbolic of the ruling monarch’s duty to protect and fight for his people. These hunt scenes, which are remarkable in their realism and detail, rank among the finest achievements of Assyrian Art:

British Museum, London, England, UK

British Museum, London, England, UK

British Museum, London, England, UK

The Mildenhall treasure is one of the most important collections of silver tableware from the late Roman Empire. The hoard, found in 1942 by ploughman Gordon Butcher whilst working in a field near the village of Mildenhall in Suffolk in the UK, consists of 34 pieces weighing a hefty 56 lbs. The shot below is from the centre of the Great Dish and depicts the worship of Bacchus, the Greco-Roman God of wine and ecstasy:

British Museum, London, England, UK

Below are three shots from the central courtyard of the museum, now enclosed by one of the most mesmerizing modern roof structures I think I’ve ever seen:

British Museum, London, England, UK

British Museum, London, England, UK

British Museum, London, England, UK

© Mark Simms Photography (2017)

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