Tuesday, 26 August 2003

The opulent

Having read Randall's blog this morning, this seemed an entirely appropriate title. As promised, you can view the images from yesterday's visit to Hampton Court palace on http://tertl.fotopic.net. I've known Hampton court for a long time, but only from the outside, having fished the river Thames beside it for many years as a kid, so this was a first.

I wonder how much you can tell about people from their decor? People were certainly religious in those days, but apparently with very strange beliefs. The paintings (both walls and canvas) and tapestries show a wild mix of Christian, quasi-christian and greek mythology, all seemlessly intertwined. There was also an erotic flavour to it that I've never been aware of before in 'old master' type paintings. It might just be me, but bearing in mind that during certain reigns the court was practically a knocking shop, maybe I shouldn't find that so surprising.

I've also always been pro-monarchy, despite it being very unfashionable here at certain times. Seeing this place has made me wonder. I've tended to overlook the bowing, scraping and general humiliation of subjects that the royal presence demanded, but here it was so 'in your face' that it couldn't be ignored. It was compounded for me by the regency aspects to the building - the regency period was an era where the poor were truly treated as if beneath contempt by the rich. Toward the end I was just sick of the place - the exaggerated wealth, the rules, and especially the whole falsley religious side of things. Enough is known about the private lives of past monarchs to show that, regardless of their status as head of the church of England, many of them lived deliberately non-Christian lives, even by the standards of the day. I have to say however, that the present Queen does not reflect this, and I have much respect for the way in which she has chosen to live her life.

Maybe I'm really just a rebellious anarchist, trying to throw off restraint.

Ignoring the emotions it stimulated, the palace is kind of interesting, and if you like Gardens then they are particularly good. I've also managed to include a number of pictures of people in authentic costumes. They made a very big deal about use of correct fabrics and techniques etc to make these. These probably do appear very much like they would have done originally, except that they are a lot cleaner! Unfortunately it is not permitted to take pictures inside, so there are no interior shots. The most spectacular interior was inside the chapel, with an incredibly intricate and detailed ceiling, gold covered cherubs a go-go and acres of polished wood panelling. Again my cynicism would make me question whether God's ever been near the place, but he's far more gracious than me and it may be that it is a genuine place of worship, rather than a temple to human glory.

Hope you enjoy the pics.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Play nice - I will delete anything I don't want associated with this blog and I will delete anonymous comments.