York Watergate (1)

It was such a beautiful, crisp early summer morning that I walked from Blackfriars to Piccadilly by way of Embankment Gardens.   I realised that I have never known the history of the York Watergate, a curiously unobtrusive memento of Caroline London half buried in the gardens close to Charing Cross station.   It marks where the banks of the Thames originally were before the construction of Victoria Embankment by Joseph Bazalgette and was the entrance to the original York House, one of the great Thames-side mansions, called York House because it was owned by the Archbishops of York.   York House was acquired by the Duke of Buckingham in 1624 and the Watergate was added two years later.   Its attribution is disputed, but a list made by Nicholas Stone’s nephew Charles Stoakes of ‘Some of the Eminent Workes’ undertaken by his uncle includes ‘The water Gate att Yorke House (which) hee desined and built’.   This seems perfectly plausible as an attribution, as it looks more like the work of a sophisticated artisan following continental models than a work by Inigo Jones himself:-





2 thoughts on “York Watergate (1)

  1. Edward Chaney says:

    John Summerson originally thought Sir Balthazar Gerbier may have had something to do with the design of the York House Watergate since he did work for Buckingham in the main house and it’s a bit baroque for either Jonesy or Nicholas Stone; perhaps therefore a combination of Jones (since his pupil Webb did drawing of it), in-put from Gerbier and certainly at least built by Stone; viz chapter on Gerbier in Chaney, Evolution of the Grand Tour again… It was incidentally Charles Stoakes who notes that his uncle Stone ‘desined & built’ it; there was a v interesting Nicholas Stone Junior who went to Italy and interviewed Bernini and chatted to the Grand Duke of Tuscany in the Uffizi but he was Nicholas the Elder’s son rather than nephew). And whilst vulgarly self-advertising may i plug daughter, Olivia’s Purcellifying concert at St John’s Smith Square this Sunday (15th) at 9.30? Disgracefully (and despite her Guardian articolo and appearance on Front Row; see below) it’s not yet sold out…



    • Dear Edward, Yes, I was relying on you to add detail to my piece about York Watergate and am glad that you have. I knew about Gerbier, but thought that the attribution to Stone by Stoakes was unusually precise for the period. I can’t make Olivia’s concert, but would have liked to. Charles

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