Henry VIII’s wine fountain reconstructed at Hampton Court

(Images from the Hampton Court Facebook fan page. See the gallery for larger versions.)

And yes, you can sample it (in both red and white) for £3.50 on weekends and bank holidays starting May 1!

From The Independent:

The “fountain” is being installed in the main courtyard, the so called Base Court, and it is conceivable that a similar alcoholic facility stood there on special occasions in Henry VIII’s time. Last year, archaeologists excavating in Base Court discovered the foundations of what was probably a drinking fountain. But whether the installation was purely for water or occasionally for wine as well is unknown.

The excavation team, led by archaeologist Ben Ford of Oxford Archaeology, revealed that the original Base Court fountain was an octagonal structure, very similar in ground plan to the wine fountain in the Field of the Cloth of Gold painting, although substantially smaller.

At Ann Boleyn’s coronation, wine fountains were set up in Gracechurch Street, Cheapside and Fleet Street, and similar facilities were installed at Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation. In Oxford and Cambridge, the university colleges set up wine fountains when entertaining royalty.

The newly installed Tudor-style wine facility at Hampton Court is 4.3 metres high and can hold up to 320 litres.

“We’ve used original Tudor images of wine fountains and Hampton Court’s wealth of surviving architectural detail to recreate something truly unique,” said the Historic Royal Palaces historian in charge of the project, Dr Kent Rawlinson, curator of Historic Buildings at Hampton Court.

The wine is being imported from the same area King Henry got most of his wine: Gascony. Certainly Henry’s court had a taste for the stuff. The monarch had up to 15,000 gallons of wine in his cellar at Hampton Court at any one time. It must have been a substantial item in the royal accounts because in Tudor times, ordinary wine was, in relative terms, around three and a half times more expensive than it is now

Full article

And an article from the Daily Mail with lots of good photos

And more information from the Historic Royal Palaces website

3 Comments:

  1. Beautiful work. Can’t wait to see it in person someday!

  2. Julie Bourassa

    What was the pumping mechanism and how was it powered?

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