Buckingham Palace is synonymous with both London and England – so synonymous, in fact, that we cannot imagine a London without it. Buckingham Palace is now very much a part of English history, and has been at the centre of at least some of the UK’s (and the world’s) historical events since it became the reigning monarch’s principal home in 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended the throne. Read through Sofa Workshop’s infographic for some interesting facts and figures on Britain’s greatest, and grandest, home…
Prior to 1837 Buckingham Palace was Buckingham House. Initially, Buckingham House was the residence of Lord Aston, who was granted the home by Charles I. Buckingham House was then let to the man who would give the home its name; John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham. The Duke would, with the help of Comptroller of the Works to William III, William Talman, demolish Aston’s old house in 1698 and make it into something similar-looking to today’s Buckingham Palace – albeit much smaller.
Buckingham House’s period between 1762 and 1776 marks one of the high points of Georgian design, when Sir William Chambers redesigned and remodelled the house at a cost of £73,000 (around £8 million today). The Queen’s rooms on the principal floors of the house (and now palace) were considered the most sophisticated of their time, thanks especially to the ceilings designed by Robert Adam and painted by the Italian painter and engraver Giovanni Battista Cipriani. Buckingham House became ‘The Queen’s House’ when it was declared a private family residence by George IV in 1761.
John Nash’s work on transforming Buckingham House to Buckingham Palace, which began in the 1820s, is rightly seen as a masterpiece. This did come at a price, though – John Nash overspent wildly (£496,169 by 1828, which equals around £38 million today). Nash was sacked by the then-Prime Minister Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington in 1832 and replaced by Lord Duncannon. Duncannon appointed architect Edward Blore, who extended the east façade at both ends and created the Ambassador’s Entrance on the southern side of Buckingham Palace.
With a design history so rich, and the fact that Buckingham Palace has gone through so many changes, is it any wonder that there is so much speculation and mystery surrounding the home’s history?