The palace was initially built in an unusual combination of styles which reflected the transition of architectural preferences that defined the reign of Henry VIII. Predominantly domestic Tudor in style, the palace—as originally built—contained many perpendicular Gothic features along with some unexpected Classical detailing. Wolsey oversaw the completion of the palace, but only managed to live there for a few years before he realized that he’d been increasingly falling out of favor with Henry VIII. In order to pacify the king, Wolsey made a gift of the palace to him. The cardinal then died the following year.
|The Tudor Entrance|
In 1603, the Tudor Period ended with the death of Elizabeth I. The monarchy was taken over by the Stuart Dynasty, initially led by James I, and then his son, Charles I. There was some much publicized trouble with Charles I, but we won’t get into that now. We’ll just say that Charles II became King, and he was followed by James II—neither of them cared much for Hampton Court Palace and it went into a long period of disuse.
And, so, a long period of construction began to make Hampton Court Palace look more like Versailles—which it did, in parts. But, the job was never finished because Mary died and William lost interest, and then fell off of his horse and died, too. So, what remains is a essentially a Tudor palace on one side and a Baroque palace on the other. Fortunately, they’re unified in color by the use of rosy bricks. Many courtiers found the new round windows with pointed pediments to be “startling” as if the new courtyard was simply a line of wondering eyes. Others felt that the improvements to the structure rivaled Versailles grandeur.
|The Baroque Facade|