London Day 7 – Thursday, August 21, 2014

Itinerary: Banqueting House at Whitehall, WB Making of Harry Potter Tour at Leavesden Studios.

How scary and awesome is this? I can’t even imagine not having any fear when cleaning Big Ben.IMG_3881

After breakfast Victoria and I separated from Stefan and Daniela for the morning. We would meet up in the afternoon to go to WB Harry Potter tour.

Vic and I wanted to see the Banqueting House. We learned A LOT of history about the Banqueting Hall. We even sat in on a 20 minute lecture all about the ceiling paintings by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. We learned what story each painting tells, where they were painted and how they were installed, as well as the history of cleaning and moving them. There was so much fascinating information to absorb, especially if you love art history. Instead of going over all the details that can be looked up online, or read about in a book, I am just going to share a few photos. It really is a great place to visit. It is quiet, relaxing (they have bean bags to sit on), doesn’t take up the whole day and is quite affordable. The aesthetics are just beautiful. So if you are in London I highly recommended this site.

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Charles I commissioned Rubens to paint these for the Banqueting House. They depict is father, James I, and glorifies his monarchy. They were not painted like the Sistine Chapel, but rather painted on canvases in Germany. They were painted on the floor with the thought in mind that they were to be seen from afar. When Charles I paid off the £3,000 in 10 month installments, then they were shipped to England. By then Rubens had gout and could not travel with the paintings. He never saw them in the palace before his death.

His assistants installed the canvases in the ceiling frames, however the measurements were off. A German foot was different from an English foot. The assistants had to make adjustments to the paintings that were too small or too big for the frame.

The paintings have survived flooding, fire, and war. (During the blitz in World War II the canvases were removed, and along with the works of the National Gallery were moved to Wales.) It is a miracle that they are in their original setting and can be admired just as kings, queens and courtiers have for the past 400 years.

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His anniversary is coming up!

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Charles I’s execution was not only symbolic, because he passed through the room with paintings of his father and the glorified monarchy, but it was also strategic. Oliver Cromwell couldn’t control the crowds.

Charles I had the largest art collection of all monarchy. Cromwell sold it off after his execution, but not the ceiling for 2 popular believed reasons. One, it was too much trouble to move, and two, Cromwell liked the art. He would hold state events there.

Next we met up with our friends at Victoria Station and took the coach to…

The WB Making of Harry Potter Tour at Leavesden Studios. It was spectacular!! 

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I took just under 300 photos (thank goodness they allow you to) and they are all bellow! LOL, just kidding. This is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. I am not even kidding.

Dan’s hand is not much bigger than mine.

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They had so many props, costumes, wigs, creature puppets, scale models, concept art, sets, behind the scenes videos, prop masters making broomsticks, a green screen photo area to take a photo in Quidditch gear on a broomstick, butterbeer, etc . You can spend they entire day there and still miss something. Of course after we visited it was announced that they are expanding the tour to include a Dark Arts section with Malfoy Manor. Now I must go back when that is ready to tour!

Hufflepuff Pride!

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Several copies of Harry’s costume in different stages of deterioration and all labeled. 


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Original patterns and several more costumes.

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Very important make-up!

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Wizard’s Chess with Number Four Privet Drive.

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My jaw hit the floor when I walked into this room. I still want to shrink myself down and just run around this model of Hogwarts. I LOVE SCALE MODELS!

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I cannot wait to go back.

In my last post I had mentioned how Victoria and I decided to go back to the Old Vic Theatre so I could get a better photo with Richard Armitage. We did, and I won’t go into the details because I’d be repeating myself, but I did get a really great photo with Richard. We are both clear. No one is blinking. We’re in frame. It’s great! 

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