Regency Buckingham – click any image for full size
Jacon Cortes recently invited me to visit a project on which he has been working on for the last several years, and which finally opened its doors to the public in late 2015: an exquisite reproduction of Buckingham Palace. Intrigued, I hopped over to take a look, and Jacon and KarenKate Sands were kind enough to join me.
“We call it Regency Buckingham, Jacon, a period role-player known in-world as Jacon Cortes de Béxar (the historians might note his surname being indicative of another of his interests) told me. “Altogether, it’s been three-and-a-half years in development. and we’re still building project, and it is still a work in progress; we still have some rooms we are working on. But we have reproduced twelve of the staterooms, which people can tour.”
Regency Buckingham – The Grand Entry
Those more familiar with the modern-day Buckingham Palace might be a little surprised on their arrival. The familiar East Wing of the Palace, which stands before the Mall and is home to the famous Royal Balcony, is entirely absent; its place taken by Marble Arch. This isn’t an error in the design or imaginative thinking; rather it is the first indication that this is not Buckingham Palace as it is, but rather Buckingham Palace as it was, during its construction; hence the name Regency Buckingham.
The Palace was essentially built on the orders of King George IV, after his father had initially purchased the older Buckingham House for conversion into a private retreat for Queen Charlotte. Inheriting the house on his ascension to the throne in 1820, George IV originally envisioned expanding it into a comfortable home, only to have it grow into a design for a Palace, which John Nash designed along classical cour d’honneur lines, with Marble Arch serving as the triumphal entrance to courtyard.
Regency Buckingham – The King’s Gallery
This has been a labour of love for Jacon and co-builders Crotian and Twelfthnight Cortes de Béxar, and is also something of a visualisation of what the Palace might have been like, had George IV had lived to see it finished (in fact, neither George IV nor is younger brother and successor, William IV lived to see the Palace completed). “We’ve tried to stay true to the building,” Jacon informed me.
The result is a build which exhibits an incredible level of detail and attention to detail, Jacon, Twelfthnight and Crotian drawing on numerous sources, including the National Trust, the Royal Collection Trust and the Buckingham Palace pages of the Royal website, in order to ensure the build is as historically representative and accurate as possible. For example, in keeping with the Palace’s period of construction through the reigns of George IV and William IV, none of the works of art reproduced within it date from later than the end of the 1830s. In fact, many of the reproduced pieces are drawn from the collections of George III and George IV.
On offer at the landing point at the Marble Arch, is an information note card written by Tiamat Windstorm which is a must read. Not only does it present the Palace in is historical context as shown by the build, it provides detailed notes on the 12 available staterooms which can be explored, and provides a tour map for finding your way around them.
In addition, many of the staterooms offer images of their physical world counterparts, while hovering your mouse over portraits and paintings will often provide a short description of their subjects. All of this adds immeasurably to the experience of exploring the Palace.
Regency Buckingham – The Bow Room
Whether viewed as a historical reproduction, potential educational destination, role-play environment or labour of love, Regency Buckingham makes for an excellent visit, and is genuinely a must see.
My thanks once again to Jacon and Karenkate for taking the time to chat with me during my visit, and for providing me with some insight into Antiquity Estate – a subject and place to which I will be returning in future Exploring articles!
- Regency Buckingham (Rated: Moderate)