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The Strand Palaces of the early seventeenth century: Salisbury House and Northumberland House

Guerci, Manolo (2007) The Strand Palaces of the early seventeenth century: Salisbury House and Northumberland House. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, St John's College - University of Cambridge. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:28135)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


The dissertation focuses on two case studies, Salisbury House and Northumberland House, arguably the most important, and the only newly-built palaces along the Strand in London in the early seventeenth century. These houses, like most of the Strand palaces, have so far been neglected, largely because they were demolished so long ago. However, the archives of the families who built or owned them preserve a wealth of primary sources, thus far mostly unexplored, which have allowed a comprehensive study of the history of both houses.

The dissertation begins with a general introduction offering an overview on the history and development of the Strand palaces. Particular attention is given to Somerset House (1547-52), which, due to its architectural influence within the English context, provides essential elements for the study of the topic. The first case study on Salisbury House (1599-1613; dem. 1694) affords a full analysis of its building history. It begins with an investigation of the role of the builder, the mighty Sir Robert Cecil, Secretary of State under Elizabeth I and James I, 1st Earl of Salisbury from 1605, and perhaps the most important architectural patron of his age. The evidence is then discussed of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century views of London, which are often an unquestioned base for the description of this vanished house. This scrutiny highlights the limits of the standard views and provides the background for a new identification of two series of plans of Salisbury House. These plans, re-configured and completed by reconstruction drawings, are fully analysed in the light of documentary sources. Next, the study focuses on a remarkable design for a Porticus of 1605-10 intended for the river front of the garden of Salisbury House, which I analyse, measure and re-configure for the first time. This allows a reconsideration of the Haynes Grange Room, a controversial piece of woodwork datable to the 1580s. The Porticus and the Haynes Grange Room can be attributed to John Osborne (c.1550-1628), a ‘gentleman architect’ who proves to be a lone precursor of Inigo Jones in the development of classicism in England. Finally, the study provides an examination of later alterations of Salisbury House.

The second case study on Northumberland (former Northampton) House (1605-1611; dem. 1874) affords a complete analysis of the early stages of the original Northampton House, which have never been fully investigated. This begins with an examination of the hitherto little-known architectural patronage of its builder, Lord Henry Howard, 1st Earl of Northampton from 1603 and one of the most interesting figures of the early-Stuart era. In an analysis of the building activities of Northampton and Salisbury, textual and visual evidence is closely investigated, while an elevational drawing of the original front of Northampton House is presented for the first time. This I associate with other sources re-configuring both the inside and outside of the house as Henry Howard left it. The role of subsequent proprietors, prominent in what is the only Strand palace to survive the turn of the seventeenth century, is also fully described. I look at the Suffolk period, a short interval of twenty-eight years, when the house was owned by the Earls of Suffolk, as well as at the alterations carried out by Algernon Percy in the 1640s and 1650s, when the house became the London seat of the Earl of Northumberland. This important stage is closely analysed through a fresh examination of all relevant sources. The last part of this study provides an overview in appendix of the continuous adaptations and improvements of the house, which remained a Percy property, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The conclusion highlights the contribution of this dissertation, which is not only that of filling a void, but also that of providing a new fertile background for further discussion. In addition, a number of unpublished sources, both documentary and topographical, will change our understanding of a remarkable chapter of London history. The dissertation is completed by an appendix of relevant documents and reconstruction drawings which show the original aspect of these vanished palaces. A selection of comparative plates, as well as a catalogue raisonné in which all topographical sources are listed and analysed, are also included.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Subjects: N Visual Arts > NA Architecture
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > Kent School of Architecture and Planning
Depositing User: Manolo Guerci
Date Deposited: 15 Nov 2011 14:44 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Guerci, Manolo:
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