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Thomas Forster, ca. 1677–after 1712
Banqueting House, Whitehall: Front Elevation
Additional Title(s):
The Royal Banqueting House in Whitehall
Materials & Techniques:
Graphite, pen and brown ink, and gray wash on medium, slightly textured, beige wove paper
Sheet: 10 3/8 x 14 inches (26.4 x 35.6 cm)

Inscribed in pen and brown ink, lower right: "Tho: Forster delin:"; in pen and brown ink, lower center: "THE ROYAL BANQUETING HOUSE IN WHITEHALL: | Built by KING JAMES & now in this form most humbly dedicated"; in pen and brown ink, lower center: "5 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 feet" (scale); inscribed on verso in graphite, lower right: "7.46"

Signed in pen and brown ink, lower right: "Tho: Forster delin:"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawing & Watercolors-Architectural
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
architectural subject | banquet hall | brick | building | columns | Palladian | windows
Associated Places:
Banqueting House | England | Europe | Greater London | London | United Kingdom | Whitehall
Associated People:
Jones, Inigo (1573–1652), architect and theatre designer
James I
Charles I (1600–1649), king of England, Scotland, and Ireland
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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IIIF Manifest:

Inigo Jones designed and built the Banqueting House between 1618 and 1622 under the patronage of King James I, the first building in England to be built in a fully classical vocabulary. Taking inspiration from the Italian architects Andrea Palladio (1508–1580) and Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552–1616), Jones’s Banqueting House formed part of the palace of Whitehall, the principal residence of the English monarchs. Despite its name it was not a venue for feasting but for the annual court masques, elaborate theatrical productions combining music, dance, and complex scenery, much of which was also designed by Jones. After James I’s death, his son Charles I commissioned the Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens to decorate the building’s ceiling with allegorical paintings glorifying the House of Stuart. With the ceiling completed in 1635, the Banqueting House formed the ideological heart of the monarchy of Charles I. It was one of the few parts of the palace to survive a disastrous fire in 1698 and in the eighteenth century was beloved by the neo-Palladian architects, becoming the benchmark for architectural purity. As the philosopher James Forrester put it: “That true Politeness we can only call, Which looks like Jones’s fabric at Whitehall; Where just proportion we with pleasure see; tho’ built by rule, yet from all stiffness free.” This precise elevation was drawn by Thomas Forster, an artist better known for his plumbago miniatures on vellum, perhaps copying it from a print by William Skillman (BM 1880,1113.2681)

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2014

The Banqueting House at Whitehall was Inigo Jones's most celebrated building. Begun in 1618 and completed in 1622, it was among the first buildings in England to be built in a pure, consistent classical vocabulary, the fruit of Jones's study in Italy and his familiarity with the latest Italian architecture of Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) and Vincenzo Scamozzi (1552-1616). Its sole purpose was to provide a grand ceremonial space for great events at court, especially the masques put on at the start of each year.

Gallery label for Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11)

Connections (Yale Center for British Art, 2011-05-26 - 2011-09-11) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

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