Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 1
This view has been engraved from a curious original picture at Dulwich College; which, that a more correct drawing might be taken for the purpose of engraving, was, by order of the warden and gentlemen belonging to that foundation, carefully and thoroughly cleaned and repaired.
It represents in a very state, and probably but little altered from the style in which it had been built by its founder, Edward Duke of Somerset. The numerous other views of this mansion only preserve its appearance subsequent to the alterations made by Inigo Jones. The continuation of objects on the Thames side, has been given in detail in the other part of this publication; viz. Worcester House, , Suffolk House, &c. In the distance are Hall, the , and ; and, immediately behind the Savoy, which adjoins , is the view of Exeter House, which originally occupied the site of the present
This stately palace was erected by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector, and uncle to King Edward VI., from whom it received its name. Stow informs us, that it was built on the site of a mansion called
which had been once the town residence of the bishops of that see, and afterwards an inn for lawyers; and in the place of some other smaller tenements; and that the Duke, in order to supply the materials, demolished the neighbouring church of St. Mary le Strand, the magnificent cloister of , and great part of the fine church belonging to the monastery of St. John of Jerusalem; acts of sacrilege for which he was then, and has been since, justly censured. By his subsequent attainder, this property became forfeited to the crown.
In the reign of James I. changed its name to
in compliment to Anne of Denmark, the queen of that monarch, to whom it was given as a residence. On this occasion, the whole underwent a thorough repair, and the alterations and additions we have before noticed, were made by Inigo Jones, which completely changed its appearance, as given in the plate.
Henrietta-Maria, the queen of Charles I. succeeded in the occupancy of Denmark House, which now again resumed its original name of , which it has ever since retained. Here she was allowed to keep up her religious establishment; here also were produced many of those magnificent masques, which constituted great part of the courtly amusement of that day.
From this period, for many years, continued to be equally distinguished by the rank of its inhabitants, and even the events of which it was occasionally the scene. Here the funeral obsequies of Oliver Cromwell were solemnized with more than regal magnificence, and a final period was put to all his ambition by the removal of his body for interment to .
It became again the scene of royal splendour in the reign of Charles II. when it was occupied by his queen, Catherine of Portugal and her household. The mysterious murder of Sir Edmondbury Godfrey, a transaction, the particulars of which never yet have been satisfactorily elucidated, is said to have been perpetrated within its limits. It was afterwards, until it was lately rebuilt, appropriated to various purposes.
The present elegant pile is the production of Sir William Chambers, and must be confessed, in point of architectural beauty, far to excel the original structure. It is still, however, in an unfinished state, though it contains at present many of those offices, in which are transacted the various important concerns of the British Empire.
The Publisher begs to return his grateful thanks to the Warden and Fellows of Dulwich College, for their liberal permission to make the engraving for this work from their valuable picture.