Segments in this Video

British National Architecture (02:22)


As King Charles I was imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle, he planned a monumental palace inspired by Ancient Rome. For three centuries, classicism dominated British architecture, establishing a national style that continues today.

Stuart Dynasty (03:02)

The Tudor line ended with Elizabeth I's death in 1603. King James planned to rebuild London with fire-safe brick. Dan Cruickshank retraces his coronation route and describes arches showcasing the new architectural scheme based on classicism.

Whitehall Palace Banqueting House (03:12)

Set designer Inigo Jones was impressed by Andrea Palladio's classical architecture in Italy. He designed the first neoclassical building in London, expressing King James' vision of harmony and monarchy authority. View the exterior and interior.

Homage to James I (02:52)

The Banqueting House was completed in 1622, but King Charles I made it into a neoclassical shrine for his father. The ceiling was painted by Rubens and proclaims the divinity of the Stuart Dynasty.

Divine Architectural Rules (03:21)

Charles I and Inigo Jones planned to rebuild Whitehall Palace to proclaim monarchical authority. It was inspired by Juan Bautista Villalpando's geometrical reconstruction of Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem.

Traitor to England (02:52)

Opposition to Charles I's rule resulted in civil war. Despite imprisonment in 1647, he ordered construction to begin on Whitehall Palace. In 1649, he was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.

Charles I Execution (02:58)

Hear details of the monarch's beheading at the Banqueting Hall—a location he had used to illustrate his divine rule.

Limited Royal Power (02:26)

During the Commonwealth, many royal palaces fell into ruin; Jones died in 1652. In 1660, Charles II restored the Stuart Dynasty and championed baroque architecture—but the monarchy was now controlled by Parliament.

Glorious Revolution (03:05)

Charles II appointed Christopher Wren as architect. After his death, Parliament invited James II's daughter Mary and her husband William to become monarchs; learn about their unlikely marriage. They relocated to Hampton Court and hired Wren to update the Tudor design.

Renovating Hampton Court (03:13)

Wren and Mary redesigned the Tudor building to rival European palaces yet avoid Stuart arrogance. Cruickshank discusses how Wren worked with economic constraints and examines wall paintings of King William, inspired by French aesthetics.

Hampton Court Interior (04:54)

Each room in King William's royal apartment became more exclusive—an architectural statement in status. Cruickshank explains how each chamber was used.

Kensington Palace (03:56)

William and Mary were pressured to move back to London from Hampton Court and bought Nottingham House. Due to political and economic constraints, Wren kept the villa simple. Cruickshank discusses Roman and Italian Renaissance themes of the Cupola Room.

Royal Hospital at Chelsea (01:48)

In 1692, Wren completed a neoclassical building for veterans and planned a two mile avenue connecting it to Kensington Palace. His ambitions to rebuild London fell short.

Stuart Dynasty's End (03:12)

In 1694, Queen Mary died of smallpox. William died seven years later, and Anne died childless. Wren later completed St. Paul's Cathedral, but the succeeding Hanover monarchs refrained from building royal palaces.

Cumberland Terrace (03:39)

Named regent in 1811, Prince George was inspired by Stuart monumental architecture. He commissioned John Nash to create Regent's Park, and build aristocratic row houses designed to look like a single palace—part of a new street plan for London.

Buckingham Palace (02:21)

Parliament refused to fund George VI and Nash's project, so the king demolished two of his own castles for materials. Despite financial difficulties, Nash constructed three wings around a central courtyard in neo-classical style.

Royal Architectural Legacy (02:03)

Parliament fired Nash due to Buckingham Palace expenses; he died in 1835. Charles I and George VI were architecturally ambitious but unpopular. For two centuries, British monarchs had used neo-classicism to express their prestige.

Credits: Inventing a National Style (00:41)

Credits: Inventing a National Style

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Inventing a National Style

Part of the Series : Genius of Palaces
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



This series unlocks the secrets behind some of Britain’s most magnificent buildings, from construction to their impact on a changing society. While fortresses and castles were defense strongholds, palaces have been the residences of bishops and kings as far back as the Romans. For centuries, they have been at the heart of a kingdom’s social and political life, reflecting the personalities of the men who built them. Historian Dan Cruickshank decodes the artistic languages of palaces from Renaissance iconography to the perfection of Palladian architecture, introducing the architectural brains behind their design. This film focuses on how Charles I, William III, Mary II, and George VI used neo-classical and baroque style monuments to express their royal prestige—before and after Parliament came to power. A BBC Production.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL86517

ISBN: 978-1-60057-842-7

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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