Soon after their accession to the English throne, King William III and Queen Mary II commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild Hampton Court.
Wren’s original plan was to demolish the entire Tudor palace, except for the Great Hall. Neither the time nor the money proved available for this ambitious undertaking.
Wren had to be content with rebuilding the king’s and queen’s main apartments on the south and east sides of the palace, on the site of the old Tudor lodgings.
When Whitehall Palace burned down in 1698, William stepped up his efforts to finish the new palace. Instead of accepting Wren’s estimate for finishing the work, however, the king appointed Wren’s deputy.
William Talman, who had offered a lower price, eventually finished William’s new King’s Apartments under budget.
Wren and Talman completely transformed the east and south facades of Hampton Court, replacing Tudor towers and chimneys with the grand and elegant baroque exteriors that dominate the Formal Gardens today.
For more information about Hampton Court Palace, go to www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/stories
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