Artwork - Westminster Hall and New Palace Yard in about 1810

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  • Title: Westminster Hall and New Palace Yard in about 1810
  • Artist: Unknown
  • Date: 1808 - 1818 [Date painted]
  • Medium: Watercolour
    Pencil drawing
  • Dimensions: 41.8cm (h) x 56.1cm (w)
  • Categories: Buildings
  • Catalogue number: WOA 2679
  • Description: Watercolour drawing showing the north entrance of Westminster Hall flanked by the Exchequer offices to the left and the Court of Exchequer on the right. Dated between 1808, when the coffee-houses built up against the lower tier of Gothic niches of the Hall's north front were swept away and 1818 when Sir John Soane restored it. In 1822 the Court of Equity, known as Queen Elizabeth's Chamber, at the end of the range to the west of the Hall was dismantled as part of the site clearance for the New Law Courts. Soane had hoped to retain the adjacent Court of Exchequer but this too was demolished the next year, when he found it in an advanced state of decay. This watercolour is important for showing the condition of the lower part of the north front of the Hall. The line of niches around the two towers and either side of the entrance doorway, a key part of Richard II's original design of the 1390's, is exposed for the first time in over a hundred years. Originally filled with statues of Kings and Queens, the niches retained only eight by this date, and these, in their much eroded and damaged state, were either lost or stolen during Thomas Gayfere's subsequent repair work to the north façade of 1819-22.

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