Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace .—This edifice stands at the west end of the Mall in St. James's Park, in a situation much too low in reference to the adjacent grounds on the north.  The site was occupied formerly by a brick mansion, which was pulled down by order of George IV.  The present palace (except the front towards the park) was planned and erected by Mr. Nash.  When completed, after various capricious alterations, about 1831–2, it is said to have cost about £700,000.  The edifice is of stone, with a main centre, and a wing of similar architecture projecting on each side, forming originally an open court in front; but the palace being too small for the family and retinue of the present sovereign, a new frontage has been built, forming an eastern side to the open court.  There is, however, little harmony of style between the old and new portions.  The interior contains many magnificent apartments, both for state and domestic purposes.  Among them are the Grand Staircase, the Ball-room, the Library, the Sculpture Gallery, the Green Drawing-room, the Throne Room, and the Grand Saloon.  The Queen has a collection of very fine pictures in the various rooms, among which is a Rembrandt, for which George IV. gave 5000 guineas.  In the garden is an elegant summer-house, adorned with frescoes by Eastlake, Maclise, Landseer, Stanfield, and other distinguished painters.  This costly palace, however, with all its grandeur, was so badly planned, that in a number of the passages lamps are required to be kept lighted even during the day.  Strangers are not admitted to Buckingham Palace except by special permission of the Lord Chamberlain, which is not easily obtained.  In the front was once the Marble Arch, which formed an entry to the Palace, and which cost £70,000; but it was removed to the north-east corner of Hyde Park in 1851.

Buckingham Palace, and West End of St. James's Park.
(Queen's Garden and Hyde Park Corner in the distance.)