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Leicester's Building (1571), From The North-East

Leicester's Building (1571), From The North-East

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1872

Shelfmark: 7817.s.2

Item number: 36

Length: 15

Width: 20

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

View of Leicester's Building at Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire. Founded in the 12th century, Kenilworth is the largest castle ruin in England. For much of the medieval period it was owned by the Crown and it remained a royal residence until Queen Elizabeth I gave it to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester in 1563. A favourite of Elizabeth, Dudley transformed the castle into a 16th-century Tudor palace which became the setting for a celebrated royal visit in 1575, when the Queen was entertained with spectacular pageantry for 19 days. He built a new gatehouse, a formal pleasure garden, and the range of lodgings for his distinguished guests known as Leicester’s Building which stands between the Norman keep and the 14th-century great hall and chambers. The main rooms on each floor had large windows facing east to catch the morning sun.

This image is one of 23 photographs illustrating an 1872 guide to the history and architecture of the castle by the Reverend E. H. Knowles. He observed: “Leicester’s Building, (about 1571), is a great and picturesque mass, about 100 feet long and 50 wide… The small turret at the S.W. angle was added on for dressing rooms or closets afterwards. The staircase was in the westernmost division, projecting on to the old wall…Some of the upper windows of this building have three lights, the uppermost of which lighted a secret room, very low and without fireplaces or doors.”

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