Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Georgians

Inigo Jones' church of St Paul, Covent Garden
Shades of 'My Fair Lady'- but on Tuesday we met my cousin and a friend in Covent Garden and so were faced with 'the finest barn in England' as Inigo Jones called his church of St Paul. It was built as part of the Duke of Bedford's development of the area, and is one of the most influential of Jones' Palladian works. After lunch we left this model of Stuart patronage and visited Buckingham Palace, to see the exhibition of the Georgians. There was a substantial amount of bling:

Setting for a simple supper party
James III
 There was also, naturally, a great deal of Hanoverian Propaganda. George I was not the obvious successor to Queen Anne. Indeed there were dozens of claimants before him; but he was a Protestant. For all that, just occasionally the Stuarts made an appearance. Here was the putative James III (and eighth of Scotland) so described by himself  in this engraving in the royal collection..
 Next to him in the exhibition was George I, and on the label at his side the label states "the King is represented as 'defender of the faith' ready to champion the Protestant cause". What an irony, given that the title he is claiming was awarded to Henry VIII by the Pope for his defence of Catholic doctrine in his treatise on the seven sacraments. Still today it is claimed by our Monarch as though the faith referred to was the Protestant faith, held (albeit somewhat loosely) by the Church of England. What a charade. Henry had only sought the title so that he could hold his head up against the 'Most Catholic' King of Spain.'

A King because a Protestant: Fidei Defensor

Apart from the politics, though, there were some lovely things on show; none better than this portrait of David Garrick and his wife, by our first great native-born portraitist, Hogarth. 

And so to bed. Goodnight.

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