The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 4
St. George's Palace.
Palace, formerly Buckingham House, which was erected in , on the site of what was originally called the Mulberry gardens; the author of the New View of London, mentions its vicinity to Arlington house, then the residence of the learned and accomplished John, duke of Buckinghamshire; who, after passing an active life distinguished by bravery, retired from his labours to that mansion, and died -, aged .
The editors of
vo. , have preserved a letter written by this nobleman to the duke of Shrewsbury, which accurately and elegantly describes Buckingham house--
Thus for the duke's own description: several alterations were
| subsequently made. The
went to decay. The
assumed a more modern and simple form; and of the
no traces remained when Mr. Nightingale visited the palace. Many of these statues were deposited in the famous lead statue yard, in ; but that also has now ceased to exist.
mentioned in the duke's description was entirely done away. The
was built up; the
was filled in with brick work, and modern door-ways, windows, with compartments over them, inserted therein, with strings, plinth, &c. constituting concealed passages from the wings to the house. The duke's
was no where to be found.
The Gentleman's Magazine, above quoted, adds,
The front was of red brick, with white pilasters, entablatures, door and window frames. Had the house been of stone, the Ionic wings and centre might have had a far better effect.
The cartoons of Raffaello which formerly decorated this palace have been removed to Hampton-court. Besides several others by various masters, many of Mr. West's admirable productions adorned this house, particularly the following: Cyrus presented to his grandfather; Regulus leaving Rome on his return to Carthage; death of the chevalier Bayard; death of general Wolfe; death of Epaminondas; Hannibal vowing enmity to the Romans; the wife of Arminius brought captive to the emperor Germanicus.
Such was the state of Buckingham-house till the year , when the house of commons, on the motion of the premier, made a
|considerable grant towards altering and refitting up this house as the principal palace of his majesty. The architect appointed was John Nash, esq. and at the present time an immense expence has been incurred without producing such an edifice as the nation fully expected for the residence of their sovereign.
The palace is very extensive, and occupies sides of a quadrangle; the sides will, when the structure is completed, be closed by a handsome railing on each side of a magnificent arch constructed entirely of marble; it is intended to be an imitation of the arch of Constantine. Of the main building, it is impossible to speak in praise; the design is frittered into a multiplicity of parts, and the detail is in a style of littleness unbecoming a building of so exalted a nature.
The eastern elevation being the principal front is the most ornamental; it consists of stories in elevation, besides a concealed by the ballustrade; the story is fronted by a colonnade or continued portico of the Greek Doric order, broken into occasionally by projecting parts of the whole main building; the columns are iron, the frieze is omitted, the architrave and cornice are stone, the order is surmounted by a ballustrade. In the centre of the building is a order of architecture, the Corinthian, which is displayed in a portico composed of columns in pairs, the lower order being similarly arranged for the sake of uniformity; the upper order is surmounted by its entablature with a richly sculptured frieze, and the whole is crowned with a pediment, in the tympanum of which is intended to be an alto-relievo, representing
by Mr. Bailey, on the acroteria are full sized statues. This portico projects sufficiently to allow of a carriage passing under it.
The view of the dome of the garden front behind this portico, is universally considered a great eye-sore from its total want of ornament. At the distance of divisions of the main building are other porticoes composed of columns in pairs; on the entablature groups of military and naval trophies; an unsightly attic forms a bad finish to these porticoes; the main building has large and handsome windows between the porticoes, and the elevation is finished with the entablature continued from the porticoes, and surmounted by a ballustrade. The original wings were broken into distinct piles of buildings, a fault so glaring as to occasion their total re-construction; they have been finished in an uniform but plainer style with the principal front; the ends of each wing have a portico, the upper order consisting of columns surmounted with a pediment, the tympanum to be embellished with sculptures, having reference to the central group, and on the acroteria will be statues. The north and south fronts are nearly uniform, but the designs are far from complete, owing to the alteration which has taken place; a colonnade or continued portico having a concaved portion in the centre decorates the basement.
The chapel is an octagon situated on the south side at the junction of the wing with the main building; it is intended to be finished in the style of the tower of the winds at Athens. The garden front is deemed the finest piece of architecture; the basement is fronted by a raised terrace guarded by a ballustrade, above this the elevation shews stories in height, the lower rusticated and pierced with windows and entrances; it serves as a stylobate to the upper order, which is also the Corinthian. In width the front is broken by projections, the central is a circular bow decorated with a perystyle of columns, and crowned with an attic and spherical dome, the unlucky object which has been visited with such severity of criticism; the other projections are copies of the minor porticoes in the principal front; the lower stories are finished between the projections with a ballustrade, and the elevation with the entablature of the order which forms a crowning member throughout the building. At the extremities of the terrace are pavillions resembling Grecian temples of the Ionic order.
have been completely altered. In order to conceal from the windows of the palace, the great pile of stabling lately erected in , a large artificial mound has been raised, and planted with curious shrubs and trees. Behind this a fish pond has been formed; the remainder is laid out in parterres and shrubberies.
The entrance to the gardens from is through a splendid arch, an imitation of the arch of Severus at Rome, the architecture from the temple of Jupiter Stator, in the same city. It is intended to be richly decorated with statues and reliefs, and surmounted by a group of sculpture. The architect is John Nash, esq.
The screen of the Ionic order opposite which forms the entrance to consists of arches united by an open colonnade. The order is Ionic; the columns stand on a stylobate about feet in height; the centre arch has pair of insulated columns ranged at the sides of the entrance; the side arches have single columns grouped with antae, attached in like manner to the piers; the intervals between the arches are occupied by colonnades composed respectively of columns; the whole is crowned with an entablature and blocking course. The centre arch is crowned with a heavy acroterium, which is sculptured in basso relievo with a procession taken from the Temple of Theseus at Athens, and finished with a sub-cornice. Both faces of the screen are alike; subordinate entrances for foot passengers form a kind of wing in each side the main structure. The lodge is a small temple of the Greek Doric order. The architect of the building is Decimus Burton, esq. and the sculptor R. Westmacott, esq.
 Celebrated by Charles Dryden, in Horti Arlingtoniani, ad. el. Dom. Henricum Comitem Arlingtonia. See Nichol's Select Collection of Poems, vol. ii. p. 156.
 Gent. Mag. vl. Ixxxv. p. 36.
 Malcolm, vol. iv. p. 263.