Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hampton Court Palace, England, A-Z Challenge, Day "H"

 Evidently King Henry VIII loved to play tennis.
One of the first additions he made to


after taking it away from Cardinal Wolsley was to build a huge facility
to accommodate this sport.  What we know of as similar to Squash
or Racquet Ball today was then just tennis.

King Henry VIII was a young and very strong atheletic man who
enjoyed all outdoor activities and sporting events...his court
was well-known for their long hunt parties.  Can you imagine
what equipment they needed to campout, cook, etc. back in those days...
it's no wonder hundreds of people would be in the court
and more hundreds in service.

Lion's Gate Entrance to Hampton Court Palace

the black & white image may more properly represent how the actual entry
really appeared 400 years ago...
11 miles up the Thames River from London,
one could travel by boat or barge on the water
(at this point I'm hearing the strains of Handel's
Water Music while cruising upriver)
or by horse & carriage...
to reach this "over the river and through the trees" rural estate.

Upon arrival, this is what you would see

I first heard of Hampton Court from my OB/GYN
when I was expecting my son, my oldest child. 
The doctor was one of the foremost authorities in Houston of
fine English antiques, as well as English architecture
which he called "Tudor."

So when my little son & I departed to join my husband,
who was in Iran building what was then the world's largest
petro-chem refinery, we made certain London was our 1st stop
just so I could go to Hampton Court.

Aerial of Entry, which shows all the various additions made
by King Henry VIII, especially the tennis court & buildings
necessary to have locker rooms, bar rooms, viewing stands, etc.
in the lower left of this photo,
the long paved area is the actual court.

I love this photo as you can see exactly how the palace was oriented
to the  river and the entryway. 
The rectangle portion was added by the king.

The sheer size of the palace and the 60 acres of perfectly manicured
Hampton Court Palace Gardens
are difficult to comprehend upon first seeing them.

South Facade
which you can see in the above photo, a completely different
type of architecture surrounded by beautiful gardens and grounds which were all
designed entirely by the king.

The Maze

The king called in a famous maze designer to create Hampton Court's
beautiful addition to the formal gardens. 
Once inside one of these hedged walls, which are very tall,
you feel completely surrounded and lose all perspective of direction.
Obviously, in those days they had to have some form of entertainment
during the daylight hours, short as they were in England,
so tennis, maze-going, croquet, and even gardening
were all activities in which the royals participated.

The King's Stairway

of note here is the incredible artwork, the trompe-l'œil,
which extends from the wall directly up to the ceiling. 
The photo gives you no real idea of how immense this area really is in reality.
Gigantic, Huge.

The Great Banquet Hall

which would accommodate 600 people,
the sheer size made more believable by the photo below

Amazingly enough, this venue is available to be hired for weddings,
corporate  functions and so forth. 
Can you even imagine such a thing? 
I mean, a royal palace being made available for private functions
...fairy tale come true.

this magnificent estate as viewed from the rolling gardens

Go here to see all the other bloggers
participating in the A-Z Challenge


Karena said...

It is extravagantly amazing. Quite the life. You could get plenty of exercize viewing the grounds!

Art by Karena

joanny said...

I love reading stories about King Henry the VIII -- in his younger day before he got sick from excess -- he was quite the good looking king he was..

The castle is enormous -- no wonder he thought he was a demi-god.

Even in Scotland and Ireland castles are being turned into bed and breakfast and places to host events -- like weddings- well for the very rich that is. Somebody has to pay for the upkeep.
Lovely post.


Thank you for this blog, it brought back memories of going to Hampton Court with my late husband many years ago. Living in the UK we went to many stately homes.
The pictures are splendid. Thanks for the memories,


Raquel Byrnes said...

The maze, the mural, the ironwork...all so amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Ellie said...

I went to London a long time ago...loved it. Thanks for the visual feast and flashbacks!

Rita said...

I would love to read the comments/descriptions under the pics, but the aqua-colored writing is just too difficult!