Sunday, April 7, 2013

Windsor Castle,,, Windsor Castle, parts of which date back to the 11th century, is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. The castle is notable for its long association with the British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror. Sony  VGP-BPS13 Battery Since the time ofHenry I, it has been used by succeeding monarchs and it is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish, early 19th-century State Apartments are architecturally significant, described by art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste".Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/B Battery The castle includes the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by historianJohn Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design.[2] More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor Castle. Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London, Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/B Battery and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte and bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during theFirst Barons' War at the start of the 13th century. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13/S Battery Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to produce an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England".[3] Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/S Battery Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment. Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters for Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/S Battery During the Restoration, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant, Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo,Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13/Q Battery Victoria made minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge for the royal family during the bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the Queen's preferred weekend home. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery Windsor Castle occupies a large site of more than thirteen acres (five hectares), and combines the features of a fortification, a palace, and a small town.[4] The present-day castle was created during a sequence of phased building projects, culminating in the reconstruction work after a fire in 1992. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery It is in essence a Georgian and Victorian design based on a medieval structure, with Gothic features reinvented in a modern style. Since the 14th century, architecture at the castle has attempted to produce a contemporary reinterpretation of older fashions and traditions, repeatedly imitating outmoded or even antiquated styles. Sony  VGP-BPS21 Battery As a result, architect Sir William Whitfield has pointed to Windsor Castle's architecture as having "a certain fictive quality", the Picturesque and Gothic design generating "a sense that a theatrical performance is being put on here", despite late 20th century efforts to expose more of the older structures to increase the sense of authenticity. Sony  VGP-BPS21A Battery Although there has been some criticism, the castle's architecture and history lends it a "place amongst the greatest European palaces". At the heart of Windsor Castle is the Middle Ward, a bailey formed around the motte or artificial hill in the centre of the ward. The motte is 50 ft (15 m) high and is made from chalk originally excavated from the surrounding ditch. Sony  VGP-BPS21B Battery The keep, called the Round Tower, on the top of the motte is based on an original 12th-century building, extended upwards in the early 19th century under architect Jeffry Wyattville by 30 ft (9 m) to produce a more imposing height and silhouette.[9] The interior of the Round Tower was further redesigned in 1991–3 to provide additional space for the Royal Archives, Sony  VGP-BPS21/S Battery an additional room being built in the space left by Wyattville's originally hollow extension.[9] The Round Tower is in reality far from cylindrical, due to the shape and structure of the motte beneath it. The current height of the tower has been criticised as being disproportionate to its width; archaeologist Tim Tatton-Brown, for example, has described it as a mutilation of the earlier medieval structure.[10] Sony  VGP-BPS21A/b Battery The western entrance to the Middle Ward is now open, and a gateway leads north from the ward onto the North Terrace.[11] The eastern exit from the ward is guarded by the Norman Gatehouse.[11] This gatehouse, which in fact dates from the 14th century, is heavily vaulted and decorated with carvings, Sony VGP-BPS26 Battery including surviving medieval lion masks, traditional symbols of majesty, to form an impressive entrance to the Upper Ward.[12] Wyattville redesigned the exterior of the gatehouse, and the interior was later heavily converted in the 19th century for residential use. Sony VGP-BPL26 Battery The Upper Ward of Windsor Castle comprises a number of major buildings enclosed by the upper bailey wall, forming a central quadrangle. The State Apartments run along the north of the ward, with a range of buildings along the east wall, and the private royal apartments and the King George IV Gate to the south, with the Edward III Tower in the south-west corner. Sony VGP-BPS26A Battery The motte and the Round Tower form the west edge of the ward. A bronze statue of Charles II on horseback sits beneath the Round Tower.[14] Inspired by Hubert Le Sueur's statue of Charles I in London, the statue was cast by Josias Ibach in 1679, with the marble plinth featuring carvings by Grinling Gibbons.[14] Sony VGP-BPS22 Battery The Upper Ward adjoins the North Terrace, which overlooks the River Thames, and the East Terrace, which overlooks the gardens; both of the current terraces were constructed by Hugh May in the 17th century.[15] Traditionally the Upper Ward was judged to be "to all intents and purposes a nineteenth-century creation ... Sony VGP-BPL22 Battery the image of what the early nineteenth-century thought a castle should be", as a result of the extensive redesign of the castle by Wyattville under George IV.[16] The walls of the Upper Ward are built of Bagshot Heath stone faced on the inside with regular bricks, the gothic details in yellow Bath stone.[17] Sony VGP-BPS22A Battery The buildings in the Upper Ward are characterised by the use of small bits of flint in the mortar for galletting, originally started at the castle in the 17th century to give stonework from disparate periods a similar appearance. The skyline of the Upper Ward is designed to be dramatic when seen from a distance or silhouetted against the horizon, Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery an image of tall towers and battlements influenced by the picturesque movement of the late 18th century.[17] Archaeological and restoration work following the 1992 fire has shown the extent to which the current structure represents a survival of elements from the original 12th-century stone walls onwards, presented within the context of Wyattville's final remodelling. Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery The State Apartments form the major part of the Upper Ward and lie along the north side of the quadrangle. The modern building follows the medieval foundations laid down by Edward III, with the ground floor comprising service chambers and cellars, and the much grander first floor forming the main part of the palace. Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery On the first floor, the layout of the western end of the State Apartments is primarily the work of architect Hugh May, whereas the structure on the eastern side represents Jeffry Wyattville's plans.[nb 1] The interior of the State Apartments was mostly designed by Wyattville in the early 19th century. Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery Wyattville intended each room to illustrate a particular architectural style and to display the matching furnishings and fine arts of the period.[19] With some alterations over the years, this concept continues to dominate the apartments. Different rooms follow the Classical, Gothic and Rococo styles, together with an element of Jacobethan in places. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery Many of the rooms on the eastern end of the castle had to be restored following the 1992 fire, using "equivalent restoration" methods – the rooms were restored so as to appear similar to their original appearance, but using modern materials and concealing modern structural improvements. Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery These rooms were also partially redesigned at the same time to more closely match modern tastes. Art historian Hugh Roberts has praised the State Apartments as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste."[1] Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery Others, such as architect Robin Nicolson and critic Hugh Pearman, have described them as "bland" and "distinctly dull".Wyattville's most famous work are those rooms designed in a Rococo style. These rooms take the fluid, playful aspects of this mid-18th-century artistic movement, including many original pieces of Louis XV decoration, but project them on a "vastly inflated" scale. Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery Investigations after the 1992 fire have shown though that many Rococo features of the modern castle, originally thought to have been 18th-century fittings transferred from Carlton House or France, are in fact 19th-century imitations in plasterwork and wood, designed to blend with original elements. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery The Grand Reception Room is the most prominent of these Rococo designs, 100 ft (30 m) long and 40 ft (12 m) tall and occupying the site of Edward III's great hall.[25] This room, restored after the fire, includes a huge French Rococo ceiling, characterised by Ian Constantinides, Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery the lead restorer, as possessing a "coarseness of form and crudeness of hand ... completely overshadowed by the sheer spectacular effect when you are at a distance".[26] The room is set off by a set of restored Gobelins French tapestries.[26] Although decorated with less gold leaf than in the 1820s, the result remains "one of the greatest set-pieces of Regency decoration".Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery The White, Green and Crimson Drawing Rooms include a total of sixty-two trophies: carved, gilded wooden panels illustrating weapons and the spoils of war, many with Masonic meanings.Restored or replaced after the fire, these trophies are famous for their "vitality, precision and three-dimensional quality",Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery and were originally brought from Carlton House in 1826, some being originally imported from France and others carved by Edward Wyatt.[28] The soft furnishings of these rooms, although luxurious, are more modest than the 1820s originals, both on the grounds of modern taste and cost.[29] Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery Wyattville's design retains three rooms originally built by Hugh May in the 17th century in partnership with the painter Antonio Verrio and carver Grinling Gibbons. The Queen's Presence Chamber, the Queen's Audience Chamber and the King's Dining Room are designed in a Baroque, Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery Franco-Italian style, characterised by "gilded interiors enriched with florid murals", first introduced to England between 1648–50 at Wilton House.[30] Verrio's paintings are "drenched in medievalist allusion" and classical images.[31]These rooms were intended to show an innovative English "baroque fusion" of the hitherto separate arts of architecture, painting and carving. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery A handful of rooms in the modern State Apartments reflect either 18th-century or Victorian Gothic design. The State Dining Room, for example, whose current design originates from the 1850s but which was badly damaged during the 1992 fire, is restored to its appearance in the 1920s, before the removal of some of the gilded features on the pilasters. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery Anthony Salvin's Grand Staircase is also of mid-Victorian design in the Gothic style, rising to a double-height hall lit by an older 18th-century Gothic vaulted lantern tower called the Grand Vestibule, designed by James Wyatt and executed by Francis Bernasconi.[34] The staircase has been criticised by historian John Robinson as being a distinctly inferior design to the earlier staircases built on the same site by both Wyatt and May.[35] Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery Some parts of the State Apartments were completely destroyed in the 1992 fire and this area was rebuilt in a style called "Downesian Gothic", named after the architect, Giles Downes. The style comprises "the rather stripped, cool and systematic coherence of modernism sewn into a reinterpretation of the Gothic tradition".Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery Downes argues that the style avoids "florid decoration", emphasising an organic, flowing Gothic structure.[38] Three new rooms were built or remodelled by Downes at Windsor. Downes' new roof of St George's Hall is the largest green-oak structure built since the Middle Ages, and is decorated with brightly coloured shields celebrating the heraldic element of the Order of the Garter; Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery the design attempts to create an illusion of additional height through the gothic woodwork along the ceiling.[39] The Lantern Lobby features flowing oak columns forming a vaulted ceiling, imitating an arum lily.[40] The new Private Chapel is relatively small, only able to fit thirty worshippers, Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery but combines architectural elements of the St George's Hall roof with the Lantern Lobby and the stepped arch structure of the Henry VIII chapel vaulting at Hampton Court.[41] The result is an "extraordinary, continuous and closely moulded net of tracery", complementing the new stained glass windows commemorating the fire, designed by Joseph Nuttgen.Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery The Great Kitchen, with its newly exposed 14th-century roof lantern sitting alongside Wyattville's fireplaces, chimneys and Gothic tables, is also a product of the reconstruction after the fire.[43] The ground floor of the State Apartments retains various famous medieval features. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery The 14th-century Great Undercroft still survives, some 193 ft (60 m) long by 31 ft (9 m) wide, divided into thirteen bays.[44] At the time of the 1992 fire, the Undercroft had been divided into smaller rooms; the area is now opened up to form a single space in an effort to echo the undercrofts at Fountains and Rievaulx Abbeys, Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery although the floor remains artificially raised for convenience of use.[45] The "beautifully vaulted" 14th-century Larderie passage runs alongside the Kitchen Courtyard and is decorated with carved royal roses, marking its construction by Edward III. The Lower Ward lies below and to the west of the Round Tower, reached through the Norman Gate. Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery Originally largely of medieval design, most of the Lower Ward was renovated or reconstructed during the mid-Victorian period by Anthony Salvin and Edward Blore, to form a "consistently Gothic composition".[47] The Lower Ward holds St George's Chapel and most of the buildings associated with the Order of the Garter. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery On the north side of the Lower Ward is St George's Chapel. This huge building is the spiritual home of theOrder of the Knights of the Garter and dates from the late 15th and early 16th century, designed in thePerpendicular Gothic style.[48] The ornate wooden choir stalls are of 15th-century design, Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery having been restored and extended by Henry Emlyn at the end of the 18th century, and are decorated with a unique set of brass plates showing the arms of the Knights of the Garter over the last six centuries.[49] On the west side, the chapel has a grand Victorian door and staircase, used on ceremonial occasions.[50] Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery The east stained glass window is Victorian, and the oriel window to the north side of it was built by Henry VIIIfor Catherine of Aragon.[51] The vault in front of the altar houses the remains of Henry VIII, Jane Seymourand Charles I, with Edward IV buried nearby.[52] Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery The chapel is considered by historian John Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design. At the east end of St George's Chapel is the Lady Chapel, originally built byHenry III in the 13th century and converted into the Albert Memorial Chapel between 1863–73 by George Gilbert Scott. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery Built to commemorate the life of Prince Albert, the ornate chapel features lavish decoration and works in marble, glass mosaic and bronze by Henri de Triqueti, Susan Durant, Alfred Gilbert and Antonio Salviati.[50] The east door of the chapel, covered in ornamental ironwork, is the original door from 1246.[53] Sony PCG-71213M Battery At the west end of the Lower Ward is the Horseshoe Cloister, originally built in 1480, near to the chapel to house its clergy. It houses the vicars-choral, or lay clerks of the chapel.[54] This curved brick and timber building is said to have been designed to resemble the shape of a fetlock, one of the badges used by Edward IV. Sony PCG-71311M Battery George Gilbert Scott heavily restored the building in 1871 and little of the original structure remains.[54] Other ranges originally built by Edward III sit alongside the Horseshoe, featuring stone perpendicular tracery.[55] As of 2011, they are used as offices, a library and as the houses for the Dean and Canons.[55] Sony PCG-71312M Battery Behind the Horseshoe Cloister is the Curfew Tower, one of the oldest surviving parts of the Lower Ward and dating from the 13th century.[50] The interior of the tower contains a former dungeon, and the remnants of a sally port, a secret exit for the occupants in a time of siege.[56] Sony PCG-71212M Battery The upper storey contains the castle bells placed there in 1478, and the castle clock of 1689. The French-style conical roof is a 19th-century attempt by Anthony Salvin to remodel the tower in the fashion of Eugène Viollet-le-Duc's recreation of Carcassonne.[57] On the opposite side of the chapel is a range of buildings including the lodgings of the Military Sony PCG-71811M Battery Knights, and the residence of the Governor of the Military Knights.[58] These buildings originate from the 16th century and are still used by the Knights, who represent the Order of the Garter each Sunday.[59] On the south side of the Ward is King Henry VIII's gateway, which bears the coat of arms of Catherine of Aragon and forms the secondary entrance to the castle. Sony PCG-71911M Battery Windsor Castle's position on top of steep ground has meant that the castle's gardens are limited in scale.[60] The castle gardens stretch east from the Upper Ward across a 20th-century terrace.[61] Windsor Castle is surrounded by extensive parkland. The immediate area stretching to the east of the castle is a 19th-century creation known as the Home Park. Sony PCG-91211M Battery

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