Banqueting House to feature trompe l’oeil wrap

Banqueting House, in Whitehall, London, which is run by Historic Royal Palaces will be clad in a full-height wrap telling the story of the building’s history as it undergoes major conservation work.

The wrap has been designed by Northover & Brown and the consultancy has also worked on a series of animations within the building that are being projected onto the covered windows and tell the story of key characters from the building’s history.

Designed by Inigo Jones in a Palladio style, Banqueting House was completed in 1622 and was the site of the execution of Charles I in 1649.

Northover & Brown was appointed by Historic Royal Palaces following a tender process and Melanie Northover says: “They were looking for something to show how the building is revolutionary on a number of levels and maybe reference the Rubens ceiling.”

Charles I commissioned Peter Paul Rubens to paint the Banqueting House ceiling, which was completed in 1635. Rubens was given a knighthood by the King who was a champion of the arts.

Northover & Brown’s illusory trompe l’oeil design references Ruben’s ceiling and gives the impression of the building being torn open to reveal its secrets within.

The impression of the wrap, pictured, will differ from the final design, which is still being tweaked.

Black and white illustrations on the torn edges of the Ruben’s frieze depict costume and equipment designs by Inigo Jones, who was also a costume and set designer.

Northover, who “redrew faithfully” all of the Jones illustrations by hand says: “We’re trying to show that we’re peeling back the layers of history.”

The consultancy worked with a photographer to capture the right torn paper effect on which to overlay the sketches.

At the bottom of the wrap – which is going up at the moment and will be fully installed by March – there is an interpretive design of the building’s history in the form of a timeline featuring portraits and information.

Inside the building there are three five minute films which have been animated by Northover and tell the stories of James I, Charles I and Charles II and their relationship with the building.

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