Government House/Raj Bhavan, Calcutta, India

Government House. Calcutta.
7026. Photo Johnston & Hoffmann
Posted 1904

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The Raj Bhavan is not just a heritage building, it is Kolkata’s outstanding landmark evoking the past and sublimating it.Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, the erstwhile Government House, used to be the seat of British Imperial power. Built in the years 1799-1803 when Marquis Wellesley was the Governor General, this historic and magnificent building was designed on the lines of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, the ancestral house of Lord Curzon who later lived here as the Viceroy and the Governor General exactly 100 years after Wellesley.

This three-storied building with a magnificent central area consisting of large halls has curved corridors on all four sides radiating to detached wings, each constituting a house in itself. Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, was built over 1799 and 1803. Governor General Lord Wellesley took up residence in Government House, as it was then called, in 1803, even before the last of the artisans had vacated the mansion. Such was his impatience to live in a home worthy of a ruler of the British Empire in India. The magnificent edifice of Kolkata’s Raj Bhavan, or the Government House, was completed on January 18, 1803. Twenty-three Governors-General and, later, Viceroys lived in this house, until the capital shifted to Delhi in 1912.

In keeping with Lord Metcalfe’s imperial vision, this meticulously structured building was specially created away from the rest of the metropolis, magnificently proportioned amidst acres of formal gardens. Tall intricately patterned wrought iron gates with massive lions perched atop reiterated the same regal majestic message. The ‘plebeian’ and the ‘common man’ were to be kept out of what was the abode of the Governor General, the symbol of the power and might of the Monarch and the Throne.
Raj Bhavan, West Bengal (official website)

Story of Governor’s House (pdfs), Raj Bhavan, West Bengal website

In the early nineteenth century Calcutta (Kolkata) was at the height of its golden age. Known as the City of Palaces or St. Petersburg of the East, Calcutta was the richest, largest and the most elegant colonial cities of India. It was during this time that one of Calcutta’s finest colonial structures, Government House (later Raj Bhavan), was constructed. Before 1799, the Governor-General resided in a rented house, called Bukimham House, located in the same location. The land belonged to Mohammad Reza Khan, a Nawab of Chitpur. It was in 1799 that the then Governor-General of India, The 1st Marquess Wellesley, took the initiative of building a palace, because he believed that India should be ruled from a palace and not from a country house. Lord Wellesley wanted to make a statement to the imperial authority and power and so the building was done on a grand scale. After 4 years construction it was completed at a colossal cost of £63,291 (about £3.8 million in today’s estimate).

After the transfer of power from the East India Company to the British Crown in 1858, it became the official residence of the Viceroy of India, shifting here from the Belvedere Estate. With the shifting of capital to Delhi in 1911 it became the official residence of Lieutenant Governor of Bengal.
Wikipedia

Post Office, Brisbane, Australia

THE POST OFFICE, BRISBANE, Q.
c. 1910

Street View

With the old prison and one time police quarters demolished, colonial architect FDG Stanley came up with the Italianate design for the GPO and twin Telegraph Office. Although the GPO was completed in 1872, the central tower (a scaled down version of a more grandiose proposed clock tower) and Telegraph Office weren’t built until 1877-79. Between 1873 and 1879 the Queensland Museum occupied the GPO before moving to the William St premises of the Old State Library. Meantime the Telegraph Office’s claim to fame was its introduction, in 1892, of the typewriter as a business tool. Three Ideal Hammond typewriters were purchased and made their debut at his office, the first in Australia to use them with other colonies fast following suit. Of further note are the clock which has been incorporated into the pediment at the top of the buildings and the ornamental crown in the balustrading of the first floor.
Must Do Brisbane

Houses of Parliament, London


Houses of Parliament, London
c.1900

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Website.

The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London, England.

Its name, which derives from the neighbouring Westminster Abbey, may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building-complex destroyed by fire in 1834, or its replacement, the New Palace that stands today. The palace is owned by the monarch in right of the Crown and, for ceremonial purposes, retains its original status as a royal residence. Committees appointed by both houses manage the building and report to the Speaker of the House of Commons and to the Lord Speaker.
Wikipedia.

In the middle of the eleventh century, King Edward the Confessor had moved his court to the Palace of Westminster, situated on a central site near the river Thames. In 1265 a parliament was created with two houses: the Lords and the Commons. The House of Lords met at the Palace of Westminster while the House of Commons did not have a permanent location. After King Henry VIII moved his court to Whitehall Palace in 1530, the House of Lords continued to meet in Westminster. In 1547 the House of Commons also moved here, confirming Westminster as the central seat of government, a position it still holds today.

In 1834 a fire destroyed the Palace of Westminster, leaving only the Jewel Tower, the crypt and cloister of St. Stephens and Westminster Hall intact. After the fire, a competition was organized to create a new building for the two houses of parliament. A design by Sir Charles Barry and his assistant Augustus Welby Pugin was chosen from ninety-seven entries. They created a large but balanced complex in neo-Gothic style and incorporated the buildings that survived the fire. The whole complex was finished in 1870, more than thirty years after construction started. It includes the Clock Tower, Victoria Tower, House of Commons, House of Lords, Westminster Hall and the Lobbies.
A View on Cities


London.–House of Commons, c.1910

Palace of Versailles: Gardens

Master post for Versailles


Versailles. – Ensemble du Château. Parterre d’Eau, un Dimanche de Grandes Eaux
c.1910

Situated above the Latona Fountain is the terrace of the château, known as the Parterre d’Eau. Forming a transitional element from the château to the gardens below and placed on the north-south axis of the gardens, the Parterre d’Eau provided a setting in which the imagery and symbolism of the decors of the grands appartements synthesized with the iconography of the gardens. In 1664, Louis XIV commissioned a series of statues intended to decorate the water feature of the Parterre d’Eau. The Grande Commande, as the commission is known, comprised twenty-four statues of the classic quaternities and four additional statues depicting abductions from the classic past.
Wikipedia


VERSAILLES. — Terrasse du Château (côté Jardin). — Terrace of the Castle (Garden side).
Only publisher details: Editions d’Art “LYS”, Versailles, 9 Rue Colbert

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Palace of Versailles: Grand Trianon

Master post for Versailles


Versailles. – Palais du Grand Trianon

Street view.
Floor plan 1714-5

The Grand Trianon was erected by Jules Hardouin-Mansart in 1687 on the site of the former ‘Porcelain Trianon’. Commissioned by Louis XIV in 1670 to get away from the arduous pomp of life in the court and to pursue his affair with Madame de Montespan, the Grand Trianon is perhaps the most refined architectural ensemble found on the royal estate of Versailles.
Website.

The Grand Trianon is a château (palace) situated in the northwestern part of the Domain of Versailles. It was built at the request of King Louis XIV of France (r. 1643–1715), as a retreat for himself and his maîtresse en titre of the time, the Marquise de Montespan (1640–1707), and as a place where he and invited guests could take light meals (collations) away from the strict étiquette of the Court.
Wikipedia.

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Windsor Castle, England


East Terrace, Windsor Castle
Published: E. Marshall, Castle Hill Ltd/Valentine & Sons

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Official site

The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle’s lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as “a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste”. Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George’s Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be “one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic” design.

Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become “the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England”.[6] Edward’s core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II’s palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign.
Wikipedia

Street View (overview)


Long Walk. Windsor Castle.
Postmarked 1907.
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

A dramatic first impression is exactly what Charles II intended when he created the Long Walk between 1683 and 1685. As part of a major programme of improvements to the Castle, the King restored Windsor’s Great Park, which had been divided and sold off by Parliamentarians during the Civil War. By planting trees, taking land out of arable use and bringing in over 500 deer from Germany and Richmond Park, he turned the land south of the Castle back into a great royal hunting forest. To connect the Castle and the Great Park, he ordered a ruler-straight avenue of four rows of elms stretching for two and a half miles.
Royal Collection Trust

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Alhambra, Granada, Spain


Granada. Alhambra Puerta de Justicia.
Gate of Justice

Google Street View.

The Alhambra resembles many medieval Christian strongholds in its threefold arrangement as a castle, a palace and a residential annex for subordinates. The alcazaba or citadel, its oldest part, is built on the isolated and precipitous foreland which terminates the plateau on the northwest. All that remains are its massive outer walls, towers and ramparts. On its watchtower, the 25 m (85 ft) high Torre de la Vela, the flag of Ferdinand and Isabella was first raised as a symbol of the Spanish conquest of Granada on 2 January 1492. A turret containing a large bell was added in the 18th century and restored after being damaged by lightning in 1881. Beyond the Alcazaba is the palace of the Moorish rulers, The Nasrid Palaces or Alhambra proper, and beyond this is the Alhambra Alta (Upper Alhambra), originally occupied by officials and courtiers. Access from the city to the Alhambra Park is afforded by the Puerta de las Granadas (Gate of Pomegranates), a triumphal arch dating from the 15th century. A steep ascent leads past the Pillar of Charles V, a fountain erected in 1554, to the main entrance of the Alhambra. This is the Puerta de la Justicia (Gate of Justice), a massive horseshoe archway surmounted by a square tower and used by the Moors as an informal court of justice.
Wikipedia

The Alhambra is Granada’s – and Europe’s – love letter to Moorish culture. Set against a backdrop of brooding Sierra Nevada peaks, this fortified palace complex started life as a walled citadel before going on to become the opulent seat of Granada’s Nasrid emirs. Their showpiece palaces, the 14th-century Palacios Nazaríes, are among the finest Islamic buildings in Europe and, together with the gorgeous Generalife gardens, form the Alhambra’s great headline act.
Lonely Planet

On looking from the royal villa the spectator beholds the side of the palace of Alhamra, that commands the quarter of the city, called the Albayzin. The massive towers are connected by solid walls, constructed upon the system of fortifications which generally prevailed in the middle ages. These walls and towers follow all the turnings and windings of the mountain; and, previously to the invention of gunpowder and artillery, this fortress must have been almost impregnable.
The Alhambra at Granada

Media Centre for Art History: panoramas
Masterpieces of Islamic Architecture


Granada. Alhambra. Sala de Justicia y Patio de Leones.
Hall of Justice & Court of the Lions
1910s
Publisher: Purger & Co., Munich (1907-1920)

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Fort Cornwallis, Penang


The Fort, Penang

Street View–approximate location

Fort Cornwallis is a bastion fort in George Town, Penang, Malaysia, built by the British East India Company in the late 18th century. Fort Cornwallis is the largest standing fort in Malaysia. The fort never engaged in combat during its operational history.
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Captain Francis Light took possession of Penang Island from the Sultan of Kedah in 1786 and built the original fort. It was a nibong (Malay: palm trunk) stockade with no permanent structures, covering an area of 417.6 square feet (38.80 m2). The fort’s purpose was to protect Penang from pirates and Kedah. Light died in 1794. In 1804, after the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars, and during Colonel R.T. Farquhar’s term as Governor of Penang, Indian convict labourers rebuilt the fort using brick and stone. Fort Cornwallis was completed in 1810, at the cost of $80,000, during Norman Macalister’s term as Governor of Penang. A moat 9 metres wide by 2 metres deep once surrounded the fort but it was filled in the 1920s due to a malaria outbreak in the area.

Even though the fort was originally built for the British military, its function, historically, was more administrative than defensive. For example, the judge of the Supreme Court of Penang, Sir Edmond Stanley, was first housed at Fort Cornwallis when the court opened on 31 May 1808. During the 1920s Sikh police of the Straits Settlements occupied the fort.
Wikipedia.

Fort Cornwallis was regularly criticised by naval and military experts who deemed it far too small, too weak and too low to be of any real defence to the island. Built on a sandy ground, cracks regularly appeared in its walls. The ditch or moat was constructed in 1805 and added a degree of extra defence but a glacis on the two land-facing sides of the fort was deemed ineffective. With barely enough room on one side for a suitable Esplanade (parade ground: today’s green space) and the town close by on the other there was no room for expansion.

Inside the fort were barracks to house artillery regiments and officers, storerooms for armaments, gunpowder, gun carriages, clothing and foodstuffs, as well as kitchens, toilets and even a cell to house military prisoners. Access was via bridges leading to the two gateways seen today. Over each gateway was a building which served as officers’ quarters. The majority of cannons mounted on the fort’s ramparts were 9 and 18-pounders. Even when firing blanks they shook the walls and threatened the structure.
Fort Cornwallis, Penang (official website)