User:Russ McGinn/Queen's House, Greenwich

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(CC) Photo: Bill Bertram
North façade of the Queen's House, Greenwich
This article refers to the Queen's House, Greenwich. For the Queen's House, being the alternative name for Buckingham House, see Buckingham Palace

The Queen's House, Greenwich, was designed and begun in 1614-1617 by architect Inigo Jones, early in his architectural career, for Anne of Denmark, the queen of King James I of England. It was altered and completed by Jones, in a second campaign about 1635 for Henrietta Maria, queen of King Charles I.[1] The Queen's House is one of the most important buildings in British architectural history, being the first consciously classical building to have been constructed in Britain. It was Jones's first major commission after returning from his 1613-1615 grand tour[2] of Roman, Renaissance and Palladian architecture in Italy. Some earlier English buildings, such as Longleat, had made borrowings from the classical style; but these were restricted to small details and were not applied in a systematic way. Nor was the form of these buildings informed by an understanding of classical precedents. The Queen's House would have appeared revolutionary to English eyes in its day. Jones is credited with the introduction of Palladianism with the construction of the Queen's House. Although it diverges from the mathematical constraints of Palladio and it is likely that the immediate precedent for the H shaped plan, straddling a road is the Villa Medici at Poggio a Caiano by Giuliano da Sangallo. Today it is both a grade I listed building and a Scheduled ancient monument a status which includes the 115 foot wide, axial vista to the River Thames.

Inigo Jones, the early years

Site history

  • Palace of Placentia
  • Park, deer, road

Construction first phase

Fate of Jones and the building during the interregnum

Construction second phase

Greenwich Hospital

19th Century

The Queen's house today

Queen's house from the North.jpg



  1. The detailed accounting of the building project is laid out in London County Council, Survey of London, Howard Colvin, ed. The History of The King's Works, Volume IV, 1485-1660, Part II 9) and in John Bold, Greenwich: An Architectural History of the Royal Hospital for Seamen and the Queen's House (Yales University Press) 2000.
  2. The phrase 'Grand Tour' was unknown until approximately 1670, but in essence, Jones's tour of Germany, Italy and France, incorporated many of the elements of the later tour.