One of the grandest of Victorian Buildings, radiating the confidence of empire. Built 1861-1868. The chief architect was George Gilbert Scott, but it was Lord Palmerston, the Prime Minister, who insisted on Palladian style rather than the Gothic Scott preferred. Still in use by the government, the building is generally closed to the public, but there is an annual open house.
The exterior is dignified but rather drab, and most people walk by without suspecting the wonders concealed within.
Top and above, grand entrance hall.
The Locarno Suite, which Scott envisioned as the "drawing room of the nation."
Famous Durbar Court, designed by Scott's partner Matthew Digby Wyatt; notice that the name was taken from the Persian vocabulary of northern India's Muslim princes.
Other rooms. Why did we lose the ability to build such spaces? Was the ambition to create them tied too closely to the drive for empire, so we lost them both together? Could a democracy with modest ambitions in the world aspire to such architectural grandeur?
Another post inspired by Unseen London, photographs by Peter Dazeley with text by Mark Daly.