Treasures of London – ‘The Ambassadors’

A stunning portrait on a grand scale, The Ambassadors depicts two influential figures from the 16th century – Jean de Dinteville, the then 29-year-old French ambassador to England and Georges de Selve, the then 25-year-old bishop of Lavaur and sometime French ambassador to the Emperor, the Venetian Republic and the Holy See. The oil on oak […]

Famous Londoners – Hans Holbein the Younger…

Famed as the court painter of King Henry VIII, Hans Holbein the Younger was one of the greatest portrait painters of the sixteenth century. Born in Augsburg, in southern Germany, in 1497-98, Holbein was the son of painter and draughtsman Hans Holbein the Elder. Hans, like his brother Ambrosius, followed the family trade which he apparently learnt under […]

This Week in London – Exploring London’s archaeology; Alice in Bloomsbury; and, ‘Soundscapes’ at the National Gallery…

• Descend into ice wells at the London Canal Museum; delve into the archaeological archives of the Egypt Exploration Society; discover the history of the Spitalfields Charnel House; and, tour the remains of London’s Roman military fort with experts from the Museum of London. The British Festival of Archaeology kicked off last weekend and there’s a plethora of […]

Lost London – Bridewell Palace…

Built in the 16th century for King Henry VIII, Bridewell Palace only had a short-lived life as a royal residence before it was handed over to the City of London and used as a poorhouse and prison. Located on the western bank of the Fleet River (the site is now occupied by Unilever House and […]

Around London – Year of the Rabbit celebrations; virtual art galleries; and, to the moon and back on ‘Boris bikes’

• London will celebrate Chinese New Year this Sunday as it once again hosts the largest celebrations outside of Asia attracting some 250,000 people from around the globe. The event programme, which celebrates 2011 as the Year of the Rabbit, kicks off at 11am on the main stage in Trafalgar Square with firecrackers at noon, […]

10 (more) historic London garden squares…7. Belgrave Square…

This expansive square in the centre of Belgravia is one of the largest 19th century squares in London. The square, which along with nearby Chester Square, Eaton Square and Wilton Crescent stands on land once known as Five Fields, was laid out in the 1820s on the orders of Robert Grosvenor, 2nd Earl Grosvenor, whose […]

Lost London – Monmouth House…

This grand mansion, which once stood on the south side of Soho Square (then called King’s Square), was built for James Scott, the Duke of Monmouth (and ill-fated illegitimate son of King Charles II) in the early 1680s during the early development of the square. The duke only lived in the property briefly before he […]

LondonLife – King Henry VIII’s lost tiltyard tower rediscovered…

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of one of five highly ornate towers, luxurious banqueting houses from which the court would view tournaments in King Henry VIII’s walled tiltyard at Hampton Court Palace. Built in the 1530s, the multi-storey towers were largely demolished by the 1680s and, with the exception of one of the towers which still stands at […]

LondonLife – Celebrating the Paralympics in Trafalgar Square…

Claire Lomas, an event rider paralysed from the chest down who became the first person to complete a marathon in a bionic suit when she finished the London Marathon in April, is applauded by Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, after lighting a ‘celebration cauldron’ in Trafalgar Square […]

Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee with 10 royal London locations – 5. Buckingham Palace…

Following her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, took up residence in Buckingham Palace and have resided there ever since. The Queen and her family’s appearance on the palace’s balcony to wave to crowds at events like Trooping the Colour and last year’s Royal Wedding have become symbols of her […]

King James I’s London – The Banqueting House

This year marks 400 years since the creation of the King James Bible (it was completed in 1611). So, in a new special Wednesday series, we’re taking a look at London during the reign of King James I (he’s the one who commissioned the Bible). First up in our list of some of the key […]