New Book | St James’s Palace

Posted in books by Editor on December 16, 2022

From Yale UP and the Royal Collection Trust:

Simon Thurley, Rufus Bird, and Michael Turner, St James’s Palace: From Leper Hospital to Royal Court (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2023), 308 pages, ISBN: 978-0300267464, £60 / $75.

The first modern history of St James’s Palace, shedding light on a remarkable building at the heart of the history of the British monarchy that remains by far the least known of the royal residences

In this first modern history of St James’s Palace, the authors shed new light on a remarkable building that, despite serving as the official residence of the British monarchy from 1698 to 1837, is by far the least known of the royal residences. The book explores the role of the palace as home to the heir to the throne before 1714, its impact on the development of London and the West end during the late Stuart period, and how, following the fire at the palace of Whitehall, St James’s became the principal seat of the British monarchy in 1698. The arrangement and display of the paintings and furnishings making up the Royal Collection at St James’s is chronicled as the book follows the fortunes of the palace through the Victorian and Edwardian periods up to the present day. Specially commissioned maps, phased plans, and digital reconstructions of the palace at key moments in its development accompany a rich array of historical drawings, watercolors, photographs, and plans. The book includes a foreword by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

Simon Thurley is a leading historian of royal palaces and the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English court. Rufus Bird is a furniture specialist and former Surveyor of The Queen’s Works of Art, Royal Collection Trust. Michael Turner is an architectural historian and a former Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas for Historic England.


Foreword, HRH The Prince of Wales

Notes for the Readers

Simon Thurley, Introduction
1  Simon Thurley, From the Hospital of St James to the Civil War
2  Simon Thurley, The Restoration to Queen Anne
3  Rufus Bird, The Georgian Court
4  Michael Turner, George IV to the Second World War
5  Simon Thurley, The Palace Today

Abbreviations and Bibliography
Illustration Credits
Plans A–D

New Book | Nicholas Barbon: Developing London, 1667–1698

Posted in books by Editor on December 16, 2022

From the London Topographical Society:

Frank Kelsall and Timothy Walker, Nicholas Barbon: Developing London, 1667–1698 (London: London Topographical Society, 2022), 240 pages, £35.

London grew rapidly in the last quarter of the seventeenth century, and Nicholas Barbon (c.1640–1698) was central to its physical transformation. This first complete biography analyses how Barbon’s property development was closely connected to financial innovations. As a young doctor during the Plague year of 1665 Nicholas Barbon stayed in London to help victims, but thereafter his attention turned to building, to finance, and to economics. His first developments were in the City after the Great Fire. He then took advantage of the westward move of aristocratic houses to lay out streets in what had been their grounds, before building in the Temple, moving to sites in Soho and Westminster, eastwards beyond the City walls and north to Holborn. His development of Red Lion Fields (to the fury of neighbouring lawyers in Gray’s Inn) and Lamb’s Conduit Fields is discussed in detail, revealing the sophisticated—some might say ruthless—methods he used to raise funding. His speculative activity created rows of terrace houses and squares that became the norm for the city’s future development. At the same time he set up the first fire insurance company, the second bank, became an MP, and published on economic matters such as free trade and recoinage. He was in the parlance of the day a ‘projector’, and his story reveals a great deal about the way London, and Britain as a whole, was changing topographically, politically and socially in these crucial years.

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