Saturday, 5 July 2014

Palatial Architecture

We were watching Dan Cruickshank, the architectural historian, on TV the other night talking about Britain's royal palaces.

It struck me that if a new palace or aristocratic ancestral pile were to be built today, in no way could modern architecture portray majesty and overawing power. Instead of Vanbrugh's magnificent Blenheim, we'd have some inverted monstrosity by Richard Rogers. Instead of the entrancing Rubens Banqueting House ceiling, we'd have a Banksy ceiling. We'd probably end up with Tracey Emin's bed as a centrepiece instead of a marble statue of some Greek goddess. 

It's noteworthy that the Duke of Westminster, who rebuilt part of Eaton Hall as a modern residence in 1971, had it completely redesigned in 1991 as a French chateau from an earlier age due to the modern building being unsympathetic to the local countryside.

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