St James's in the USA
In late April through early May Rufus Bird will be travelling in the US to speak about the history of St James’s Palace. Having worked in the palace for ten years, and written a chapter in the official history of the palace, covering the years 1714-1820, he will bring his personal experiences as well as an overview of the history of this little known, but important and fascinating Royal palace.
The official history of the palace was published by Yale University Press in the UK in the autumn of 2022 and in the USA in February 2023. https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300267464/st-jamess-palace/
Between 25 April and 10 May Rufus will be travelling to Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia and New York (for the Royal Oak Foundation), Winston-Salem (at the MESDA design seminar titled ‘The British are Coming! The British are Coming!’ and at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
St. James's Palace: From Leper Hospital to Royal Court
Visitors to London may recognise the red brick building at the bottom of St James’s Street — St James’ Palace — and its location near many clubs and boutique hotels. St James’s Palace is a remarkable building at the heart of the history of the British monarchy and served as the official residence of the British monarchy from 1698 to 1837. However, despite its pivotal role in British history, St. James’s Palace is by far the least known of the royal residences. While King Charles III and the Queen Consort live at Clarence House, their home is actually one of several structures which formed a part of the buildings that emerged from the Tudor palace in 1530s. St. James’s medieval origins were as a leper hospital dedicated to St. James. The palace's history also includes stories of attempted and actual murder; family arguments between father and son; a lost masterpiece building by William Kent; and lavish royal apartments. Over the centuries, St. James’s Palace survived dilapidation and fire, 19th century reconstruction, and remained the location for important international diplomacy. Rufus Bird—whose office was in the heart of St. James’s Palace for over 10 years—will bring to life the stories of this remarkable palace. He will explore the role of the palace as the principal seat of the British monarchy after fire consumed Whitehall Palace and explain the building’s impact on the development of London and the West End. Lastly, he will illustrate the paintings and gorgeous decorative arts at St. James’s (part of the Royal Collection) which follows the fortunes of the building, through the Victorian and Edwardian periods up to the present day. As one of the authors of a new history of St. James’s Palace, Rufus will also show historical drawings, watercolors, and never before seen photographs of St. James’s to reveal the secrets of this overlooked palace.
(images courtesy of Yale University Press ; Royal Collection Trust / © HM King Charles III 2023; © Associated Press)