Palaces of Revolution: Life, Death and Art at the Stuart Court by Simon Thurley - review by David A H B Taylor

David A H B Taylor

Pomp & Pleasure

Palaces of Revolution: Life, Death and Art at the Stuart Court


William Collins 560pp £25

The Stuarts are one of our most glamorous, fascinating and misunderstood ruling dynasties. Among the many important legacies of the century or so during which they ruled Britain and Ireland are the buildings they inhabited, embellished and built, as well as the decorative schemes and art collections they commissioned, acquired and lived alongside. This complex and colourful story, incorporating the period from James VI and I’s accession to the English throne in 1603 to the death of Queen Anne in 1714, is the subject of Simon Thurley’s Palaces of Revolution.

The ‘revolution’ in the title refers to the seismic changes that occurred during this period: Scottish takeover in England, civil wars, an interregnum, switches of monarchical religion and regime change within the family. With decades of research and many publications on Stuart architectural history behind him, Thurley deftly reconstructs

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