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image P340

Francis Wheatley (1747 - 1801)
John Hamilton Mortimer (1740 - 1779)
Paul Sandby (1731 - 1809)

View in the Privy Gardens, Whitehall

c.1782

Watercolour

Museum number: P340

Curatorial note

London, Privy Gardens, Whitehall: view showing part of the East front of the Banqueting House designed by Inigo Jones. The statue is that of King James II that is now in Trafalgar Square.

In Soane's 1835 Description, this work is mentioned hanging in the Model Room on the second floor and described as 'a view of Whitehall, with Figures, done about the year 1782 by Wheatley and Mortimer'. To this is added further detail in the text written by Mrs Hofland who recounts what Soane told her about its origin and acquisition: The origin of this picture, as represented to me, is as follows: Wheatley and Mortimer, being threatened with arrest, were for many weeks sheltered under the roof of Mr Tyers at his house in Whitehall Gardens. After the fear of the Bailiffs was over, they agreed to paint the above picture and present it to their kind host. At the death of Mr Tyers it became the property of his daughter, Mrs Barrett, who, dying in 1834, left it to Mr W. Freeman, of whom I purchased it.

This exquisitely detailed watercolour showing the rear facade of the Banqueting House may have in part been acquired by Soane because of his own close links with the Banqueting House. He won his RA silver medal in the 1770s with a measured drawing of its celebrated facade and in 1829 completely refaced and re-roofed Inigo Jones' masterpiece. In the basement of his Museum he created an arrangement of fragments of Jones' celebrated building centred on a fine pilaster capital he salvaged from its main facade on Whitehall.

The Privy Garden was orignally a large enclosed royal pleasure garden on the east side of Whitehall. After the fire that destroyed Whitehall Palace in 1698 it lost its royal patronage and fell into disrepair during the early 18th century. Several views of it were painted by Canaletto in 1747. By the early 19th century it was the site of a row of townhouses, seen here on the left. The final remants disappeared in 1938 with the construction of Government Offices on the site (now the Ministry of Defence).

Literature

Soane, Description, 1835, p.88


If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk