Here’s the second part of my Hampton Court Palace adventure, now with extra Georgian frivolity.
Basically, when the Georges moved into the old palace they started tearing down Henry’s frightfully old fashioned stuff and putting up gawdy shizz of their own. Lucky for us they ran out of money which is why we have half a Tudor Palace and half a Georgian one.
This part of the palace has an amazing gallery (no photos allowed, but I saw TWO Caravaggios) and various quarters frequented by Kings, Queens, mistresses, servants and hangers on.
I began my tour by playing some old timey board games:
Then we admired the various dining set ups. Thing I noticed number one: it was rather dark. Unwashed, pock marked nobility from yesteryear probably looked a lot more attractive by the flattering hues of candlelight, so this was possibly a good thing.
Thing I noticed number two: They had this craze for creating animals for their tabletops out of folded linens. Hence we have all these photos that don’t look a little bit like a giant fire hazard at all:
After a bit more costuming and sculpture I picked up a doozy of a pamphlet. Here are the pertinent parts:
Yup, this is a scratch and sniff sheet themed around the Georgian Court. So one can fully experience how stuff would have smelled back then. I was personally of the opinion that one of the benefits of visiting these old palaces in modern times is that we wouldn’t have to smell the smells from back then. Call me historically inaccurate if you must, but I’ve always figured that the past smelled bad. Let’s test that theory, shall we?
It starts with a fire place, or a “guard chamber” as it’s called. Scratch, scratch. Smells like burnt wood. We have burnt wood in modern times, too.
Next is the “presence chamber”. A place to smell herbs used in George I’s coronation. Now, I don’t know what smell they were trying to disguise by using these herbs, but hell, I hope I don’t ever have to smell it. The herbs smell BAAAAAD. Like food you don’t want to eat while sat beside the old lady with too much weird perfume.
Now we have the “public dining room”. In here it’s supposed to smell like freshly laundered linen napkins. Scratch, scratch. This just in: I have no interest in the smell of linen.
We also have the smells from the “private dining room” which is apparently where they ate the meat. A bit too sweet for meat, but maybe that’s accurate for the time.
Now, the “bathing room”. Do I really want to smell Caroline’s bath? Eh, it’s kind of hot watery and linen-y all together. Everything is starting to smell old and musty to me. I suppose that’s the point.
Next… oh god what in the hell is this? The “water closet”? That’s an old fashioned way of saying toilet. Scratch here to smell the royal toilet? Fuck right off. No. Not doing that, no way, no how. Why? Why would they expect any self respecting person to stoop so low? How could they? No.
Curiosity got the better of me. I did it. It smells like regret. Why the hell did I do that? The smell sits in my nostrils and it is definitely a stench. It even smells hot. How do I describe this? It doesn’t smell quite like shit, per se, instead it smells like that feeling you get when you enter a reasonably public restroom (maybe one at work) and sit down, only to discover that the seat is warm. You never saw anyone leave and now you’re sitting in the warm spot left by a phantom bottom and can’t stop yourself from imagining the most disgusting example of a human being you can conjure up as the leaver of the warm seat. You know that feeling. That’s what this smells like.
Jesus Christ on a fucking penny farthing what is my life about? I’m putting down the pamphlet.
Note to self: don’t use that smell pamphlet as a fan. When will I learn?