The Queen's House
The 17th-century Queen’s House represents a turning point in English architecture. It was originally the home of Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria. It now showcases the Museum's outstanding fine-art collection and provides a unique and beautiful venue for weddings, corporate and private events.
Designed by Inigo Jones for James l's wife, Anne of Denmark, this gracious residence holds the double distinction of being the first classical building in England and the first to boast a cantilevered staircase, the so-called 'Tulip Stairs'. Although it was originally commissioned in 1616, the house was not completed until 1638, by which time the Queen in question was not Anne (who died in 1619) but Henrietta Maria, wife of the ill-fated Charles I.
The Great Hall at the heart of the building is a perfectly proportioned cube, which measures 40ft x 40ft and whose bold black and white geometrical marble floor anticipates 1960's Op-Art by several centuries.
The Queen's House celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2016, and in preparation for this august date its historic rooms, such as the King's Presence Chamber and its female counterpart, the Queen's Presence Chamber, have been refurbished and hung with paintings depicting historic characters associated with the building's royal past.
Other rooms in the house will continue to fulfill their more recent role of art gallery, displaying treasures from the NMM's extensive collection of maritime art. These too have been re-interpreted for the anniversary, but expect high-calibre works by the likes of Reynolds, Hogarth, Turner and Dutch father-and-son marine artists, the Willem van de Veldes (whose studio was at the Queen's House).