I opened my email yesterday to find a message announcing the re-opening of an exhibition in one of the royal palaces in London:
This painting is a Rembrandt, and exactly the one Captain Lacey sees when he visits Carlton House.
This is the Blue Velvet room at Carlton House, with the Rembrandt on the back wall. The picture of the room is from A History of the Royal Residences by WH Pyne, published in 1819.
When I toured Buckingham Palace in 2019, I was thrilled to find so much of the artwork, including this Rembrandt, from Carlton House, which was torn down about 1827, alive and well. I saw chairs, tables, clocks, and paintings that are depicted in the drawings in Pyne’s book, which I describe in A Mystery at Carlton House. (Another source for me was the Royal Collection’s archives, which lists what artwork and furnishings George IV purchased).
By the time Carlton House was pulled down, the Prince Regent, now king at last, had already started remodeling Buckingham House, to which the treasures of Carlton House were moved. Many also went to Windsor Castle, as did some of Carlton House’s interior architecture features.
It truly was exciting for me to walk among George IV’s acquisitions that Captain Lacey also viewed. I could hear the captain admiring a piece–or wondering why it was supposed to be beautiful–listening to Grenville explain the artwork’s history, while Brewster waited outside, rolling his eyes a bit and reminding himself he wasn’t supposed to nick anything.
A chance to step into one of my own books was one of the highlights of that journey.
Carlton House, after it was demolished down to the ground, was replaced with Carlton House Terrace, a row of luxury homes designed primarily by John Nash.
These days Carlton House Terrace houses the Royal Society, the Institute of Contemporary Arts, and other arts societies, private clubs, and other things. I think one of the houses is a wedding venue as well.
The view of the rear of Carlton House Terrace from the Mall.
(All the photos of Carlton House Terrace are by me, from September 2019.)
I hope you enjoyed this visit to Lacey’s London!