Blackguard Posted May 8, 2016 Share Posted May 8, 2016 It was a grand Saturday evening in London. As merrymaking filled the streets of the city, Whitehall was radiant in the darkness that had descended early. A light snow had coated the city and rooftops, giving off a muted glow in the moonlight. Inside Whitehall, thousands of candles burned so that light could help the revelers admire the finery and jewelry on display this evening. It would be safe to assume that everyone had arrived in their finest. Debutantes were awash in jewelry to catch that all important eye, while lords and ladies were sumptuously attired to shout to the world of their wealth and power. The Banquet House, as opposed to the Great Hall, was selected to host the ball, given the increase in the number of lords and ladies present. Near the throne, a row of tables were laid out in a straight line, with strict seating arrangements for the royal family and guests. A buffet of desserts was laid out at the back of the hall, to allow courtiers to pick and choose what they desired, though wine and other drinks were supplied by the multitude of servants scurrying about. Mistletoe hung from every chandelier and pillar. Any lord and lady finding themselves underneath such a garland were supposed to kiss if they were friendly. Centered on one wall of the hall was a life sized ice sculpture of King Charles. Centered in the other was a life sized ice sculpture of Queen Caroline. The back tables were full of every pie and cake that could be imagined. There were sugared nuts in bowls and bite-sized pieces of dark chocolate, by the thousand. Although there were servants carrying drinks to every guest, there were several tables that had servants ready to dispense drinks. There were wines, ales, and punches. The punch, as one might expect, was laced with flavored brandies or other alcoholic spirits. Each table of spirits had mistletoe hanging above -- an enticement for young couples to find themselves sharing spirits conveniently beneath the mistletoe. Should a visitor be new to the Banquet Hall, the view would be splendid. The ceiling was painted by Rubens on orders of King James I, grandfather to King Charles II. The subject of the middle panel is the Apotheosis of James I. Justice is raising the King, who is shown holding a sceptre, with one foot on a globe and the other on the wing of a flying eagle, which is grasping a thunderbolt in its talons. In attendance are figures representing Zeal, Religion, Honour and Victory. Above the King are cherubs with the crown and orb, and others are blowing trumpets. The large south panel represents the King, seated on a throne within an architectural composition, and pointing to Peace and Plenty embracing on his right. Angels support a laurel wreath over his head and a cherub behind him carries the crown. On his left Minerva, holding a thunderbolt in her right hand and a shield in her left, is driving Rebellion; who holds a flaring torch, down to Hell, where Satan, attended by monsters, awaits him. Mercury is pointing with his caduceus to his downfall. The large north panel is an allegorical representation of the birth and crowning of Prince Charles I. The King is seated on his throne, holding the orb, and pointing with his sceptre to Prince Charles (a nude infant figure), who is attended by two draped females, of whom one, who is crowned, may be intended for the Queen. Behind is Minerva, who is holding a crown over the prince. The background shows an architectural composition, with a domed coffered ceiling. In the upper part of the picture two cherubs support a crowned cartouche, bearing the Stuart arms, with garlands of roses. The two oval panels at the south end of the ceiling represent Royal Bounty, pouring, from a cornucopia, crowns, emblems and medals, and trampling on Avarice; and Government, holding a bridle, and trampling on Rebellion. Two similar panels at the north end represent Hercules (Heroic Virtues) clubbing Envy; and Minerva (Heroic Chastity) with a spear destroying Lust. Above her is a flying owl holding a wreath. On each side of the large central panel are long oblong panels. That on the east side shows a procession of cherubs, with a chariot laden with fruit and drawn by a ram and a wolf, the former ridden by an infant Bacchus. In front is a cherub riding a tiger, preceded by other cherubs carrying a huge cornucopia of fruit, the whole representing the Peace and Plenty of King James's reign. The other panel is supposed to represent the Harmony and Happiness of the reign, and contains gambolling cherubs on a rope of fruit which issues from a chariot drawn by a lion and a bear. Cherubs are loading up the chariot with a huge cornucopia of fruit. The lion has a cherub on his back tickling his ear, while another in front is drawing his teeth. The scale of the figures in the whole composition is extraordinary, the cherubs being more than 9 feet high. The royal family had yet to arrive, but most anyone who was anyone was already there, arriving early to get a glimpse of the festive scenery. Thomas Killigrew was speaking with Nicholas Staggins over in the corner where the musicians sat. Some were fine tuning their instruments. Over by the statue of the King was the Howard clan. The Duke of Norfolk was there with his wife, Jane. In their company was Henry Mordaunt, Earl of Peterborough and his daughter Mary, who was said to be seeking a betrothal with the Duke's son Henry. The Earl of Arundel was there, but was not standing near his father. Instead, he was speaking with William Howard, his great uncle, Viscount Stafford, and his daughter Isabel Paulet, dowager Marchesse of Winchester. By the Queen's Statue was the Cavendish clan. The Duke and Duchess of Newcastle on Tyne were standing together, along with their eldest daughter Elizabeth (Duchess of Albemarle), her second daughter Frances, and their son Henry, Lord Ogle, who was said to be matched with Elizabeth Percy now that she was of legal age. With them was the elderly William Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire and his son William, Lord Cavendish and his wife. In another cluster was the Merry Gang; Rochester, Sedley, Dorset, Roos, and Merriweather. They seemed already well in their cups and eyeing each lady and gentleman that passed, with rude whispers about their appearance. Another cluster found George Digby, Earl of Bristol, in conversation with his daughter Anne Spencer and her husband Robert, Earl of Sunderland and Northern Secretary. They were conversing with Diego de Silva, Ambassador from Portugal. Nearby, the Earl of Arlington and the Duke of Lauderdale were conversing while watching Sunderland. The Duchess of Lauderdale had separated herself from her husband in search of refreshment in the company of Frances Stuart, Duchess of Richmond. There were many more in the crowd. Most anyone could be found if one looked hard enough. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.