After a lovely breakfast this morning, our hosts, Glenda and Richard showed us their Symphonion polyphon. It is a very upmarket music box that plays from large metal discs with slots. The music produced by this device was marvellous. I was amazed because I remember a very similar thing in the old Melbourne Museum (before the move to Carlton). It still works by dropping a penny in the slot!
Having been entertained musically, we drove to Hampton Court Palace. It is one of the places I remember from my previous visit to England in 1990. It did not disappoint. The palace is huge and dates mostly from two time periods - Tudor and William III. Cardinal Thomas Wolsey built most of the palace from 1515. When he fell out of favour with Henry VII, the king seized the palace for himself. William III made huge changes and additions in the late 1600s. We spent five hours there and could have easily spent another five!
The coat of arms above the entrance
The Great Hall
Ceiling of the Great Hall
King Henry VIII depicted in a stained-glass window in the Great Hall
Another depiction of King Henry VIII in a stained-glass window in the Great Hall
The rather portly Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
Portrait of Edward VI, son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour. He became king after Henry died in 1547. Sadly, he only lived until he was 15, dying in 1553.
We were not allowed to take photos in the magnificent Chapel Royal so I found the images below on internet to show you instead. The Chapel is still used for services and the Chapel Royal Choir has been in existence for almost 500 years!
The ceiling - the images above and below really don't do it justice
The photos below are of the newer section of the palace.
Detail of the ceiling above (a depiction of Queen Mary II)
The Oratory - Queen Mary was very interested in theology and often had discussions with her chaplains in this room.
Looking up in the Oratory
Close up photography of the angels at the top of the oratory ceiling show that their eyes are hollow. We asked the attendant about this. His response was that he had never noticed and would find out.
One of the gardens (of which there are many!)
The Chocolate Kitchen was built for William and Mary, around 1689, but mainly served the Georgian kings.
The Queen's Staircase
The three photos above are from the Guardroom.
The astronomical clock
Queen Elizabeth I had these kitchens built. Note the huge fireplace! The space is used as a café now.
This is Henry VIII's kitchen. After the kitchens were no longer used, floors were added above them for use as "Grace and Favour" apartments. It was most interesting to learn that Lady Baden Powell (founder of the Girl Guides and wife of Lord Baden Powell who founded the Scouts) lived here until about 1976, the year before she died. After she left, the floors were removed so that visitors could once again experience the kitchens as they were in the time of Henry VIII.
The exterior of the Orangery. The orange trees were kept inside during the winter months.
A formal garden
A bumble bee (?) - about twice the size of bees in Australia.
The palace looked beautiful in the late afternoon sunlight.
Exterior of the Baroque section of the palace.
We happened upon His Majesty in the garden. He graciously agreed to have his photo taken with us.
The trees are beginning to show their autumn colours.
This is the palace's real tennis court. Our modern tennis games derived from this game. The courts are still in regular use. It was amazing to think that Henry VIII played the game in this very place.
One of the residents of the palace.
Dinner was at McDonald's and we then returned "home" for journal writing!