THE NEW PALACE IN ST. JAMES’S PARK.
Palaces are at all times objects of national interest, or rather they are national concerns. They belong to the attributes of royalty, and in some instances have been erected by a grateful people to celebrate the virtues of patriot princes. We therefore make no apology to our readers for occupying so large a portion of the present Supplementary Number with the representations and details of the New Palace, (the exterior of which is just now completed,) and of the consequent improvements in the adjoining Parks; since we are persuaded that the patriotic feelings of our subscribers will hail them as subjects of paramount importance. The great Lord Bacon, who treated these matters with the gravity of a philosopher, in his “Essays,” gives a “brief model of a princely palace;” and in our times Napoleon is known to have expended many thousands in restoring the gilding of the palace at Versailles—although the extravagance of its founders paved the way for the events in which he distinguished himself.
In architectural improvement, London has made greater advances since the late peace, than in the entire century which preceded that auspicious event. Being unquestionably the richest, the largest, and most populous city of Europe, the seat of a wealthier court, and a more opulent body of nobility and gentry than any other metropolis, it seems only a reasonable expectation that it should likewise excel all others in the number and magnificence of its public edifices and private dwellings. Such, however, is not the case; for, till within the last few years, that most splendid and impressive of all the arts, architecture, has been almost wholly neglected.
The architectural superiority of London, such as it is, consists in the number, size, and neatness of its principal streets and squares. Petersburgh, Berlin, Naples, Turin, Geneva, Antwerp, Edinburgh, and other places, have perhaps finer streets than any in London, but in respect to their number there is no comparison. In churches, London will probably be admitted, after Rome, to take the first rank among the cities of Europe; but in palaces, London is confessedly excelled by almost every other capital in Europe, both in public and private edifices of this description; of the former, Whitehall, Carlton-house, (now almost demolished,) and the Mansion-house, comprise the whole list of buildings any way entitled to the appellation of palaces—and even their title has often been thought disputable.