Charles II of England
Charles II was king of England and Ireland. He was king of Scotland from 1649 until his deposition in 1651, king of England and Ireland from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his death. Charles II's father, Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War. Although the Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II king on 5 February 1649, England entered the period known as the English Interregnum or the English Commonwealth, the country was a de facto republic, led by Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell defeated Charles II at the Battle of Worcester on 3 September 1651, Charles fled to mainland Europe. Cromwell became virtual dictator of England and Ireland. Charles spent the next nine years in exile in France, the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Netherlands. A political crisis that followed the death of Cromwell in 1658 resulted in the restoration of the monarchy, Charles was invited to return to Britain. On 29 May 1660, his 30th birthday, he was received in London to public acclaim.
After 1660, all legal documents were dated as if he had succeeded his father as king in 1649. Charles's English parliament enacted laws known as the Clarendon Code, designed to shore up the position of the re-established Church of England. Charles acquiesced to the Clarendon Code though he favoured a policy of religious tolerance; the major foreign policy issue of his early reign was the Second Anglo-Dutch War. In 1670, he entered into the Treaty of Dover, an alliance with his first cousin King Louis XIV of France. Louis agreed to aid him in the Third Anglo-Dutch War and pay him a pension, Charles secretly promised to convert to Catholicism at an unspecified future date. Charles attempted to introduce religious freedom for Catholics and Protestant dissenters with his 1672 Royal Declaration of Indulgence, but the English Parliament forced him to withdraw it. In 1679, Titus Oates's revelations of a supposed Popish Plot sparked the Exclusion Crisis when it was revealed that Charles's brother and heir, Duke of York, was a Catholic.
The crisis saw the birth of anti-exclusion Tory parties. Charles sided with the Tories, following the discovery of the Rye House Plot to murder Charles and James in 1683, some Whig leaders were executed or forced into exile. Charles dissolved the English Parliament in 1681, ruled alone until his death on 6 February 1685, he was received into the Catholic Church on his deathbed. Charles was one of the most popular and beloved kings of England, known as the Merry Monarch, in reference to both the liveliness and hedonism of his court and the general relief at the return to normality after over a decade of rule by Cromwell and the Puritans. Charles's wife, Catherine of Braganza, bore no live children, but Charles acknowledged at least twelve illegitimate children by various mistresses, he was succeeded by his brother James. Charles II was born at St James's Palace on 29 May 1630, his parents were Charles I, who ruled the three kingdoms of England and Ireland, Henrietta Maria, the sister of the French king Louis XIII.
Charles was their second child. Their first son died within a day. England and Ireland were predominantly Anglican and Catholic. Charles was baptised in the Chapel Royal, on 27 June, by the Anglican Bishop of London, William Laud, he was brought up in the care of the Protestant Countess of Dorset, though his godparents included his maternal uncle Louis XIII and his maternal grandmother, Marie de' Medici, the Dowager Queen of France, both of whom were Catholics. At birth, Charles automatically became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, along with several other associated titles. At or around his eighth birthday, he was designated Prince of Wales, though he was never formally invested. During the 1640s, when Charles was still young, his father fought Parliamentary and Puritan forces in the English Civil War. Charles accompanied his father during the Battle of Edgehill and, at the age of fourteen, participated in the campaigns of 1645, when he was made titular commander of the English forces in the West Country.
By spring 1646, his father was losing the war, Charles left England due to fears for his safety. Setting off from Falmouth after staying at Pendennis Castle, he went first to the Isles of Scilly to Jersey, to France, where his mother was living in exile and his first cousin, eight-year-old Louis XIV, was king. Charles I surrendered into captivity in May 1646. In 1648, during the Second English Civil War, Charles moved to The Hague, where his sister Mary and his brother-in-law William II, Prince of Orange, seemed more to provide substantial aid to the royalist cause than his mother's French relations. However, the royalist fleet that came under Charles's control was not used to any advantage, did not reach Scotland in time to join up with the royalist Engager army of the Duke of Hamilton before it was defeated at the Battle of Preston by the Parliamentarians. At The Hague, Charles had a brief affair with Lucy Walter, who falsely claimed that they had secretly married, her son, James Crofts, was one of Charles's many illegitimate children who became prominent in British society.
Despite his son's diplomatic efforts to save him, King Charles I was beheaded in January 1649, England became a republic. On 5 February, the Covenanter Parliament of Scotland proclaimed Charles II "King of Great Britain and Ireland" at the Mercat Cross, but refused to allow him to enter Scotland unless he accepted the imposition of Presbyterianism throughout Britain and Ireland; when negotiations with the Scot
Napoleon III, the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first elected President of France from 1848 to 1852. When he could not constitutionally be re-elected, he seized power in 1851 and became the Emperor of the French from 1852 to 1870, he founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the overseas empire, engaged in the Crimean War and the war for Italian unification. After his defeat and downfall he went into exile and died in England in 1873. Napoleon III commissioned the grand reconstruction of Paris, carried out by his prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann, he launched similar public works projects in Marseille and other French cities. Napoleon III modernized the French banking system expanded and consolidated the French railway system and made the French merchant marine the second largest in the world.
He promoted the building of the Suez Canal and established modern agriculture, which ended famines in France and made France an agricultural exporter. Napoleon III negotiated the 1860 Cobden–Chevalier free trade agreement with Britain and similar agreements with France's other European trading partners. Social reforms included giving French workers the right to organize; the first women students were admitted at the Sorbonne, women's education expanded as did the list of required subjects in public schools. In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence around the world, he was a supporter of popular sovereignty and of nationalism. In Europe, he defeated Russia in the Crimean War, his regime assisted Italian unification and in doing so annexed Savoy and the County of Nice to France—at the same time, his forces defended the Papal States against annexation by Italy. Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas empire in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, however his army's intervention in Mexico, which aimed to create a Second Mexican Empire under French protection, ended in total failure.
From 1866, Napoleon had to face the mounting power of Prussia as its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought German unification under Prussian leadership. In July 1870, Napoleon entered the Franco-Prussian War without allies and with inferior military forces; the French army was defeated and Napoleon III was captured at the Battle of Sedan. The Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris and Napoleon went into exile in England, where he died in 1873. Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte known as Louis Napoleon and Napoleon III, was born in Paris on the night of 20–21 April 1808, his presumed father was Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Louis the King of Holland from 1806 until 1810. His mother was Hortense de Beauharnais, the only daughter of Napoleon's wife Joséphine de Beauharnais by her first marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais; as empress, Joséphine proposed the marriage as a way to produce an heir for the Emperor, who agreed, as Joséphine was by infertile. Louis married Hortense when he was twenty-four and she was nineteen.
They had a difficult relationship, only lived together for brief periods. Their first son died in 1807 and—though separated—they decided to have a third, they resumed their marriage for a brief time in Toulouse in July 1807, Louis was born prematurely, two weeks short of nine months. Louis-Napoleon's enemies, including Victor Hugo, spread the gossip that he was the child of a different man, but most historians agree today that he was the legitimate son of Louis Bonaparte. Charles-Louis was baptized at the Palace of Fontainebleau on 5 November 1810, with Emperor Napoleon serving as his godfather and Empress Marie-Louise as his godmother, his father stayed away. At the age of seven, Louis-Napoleon visited his uncle at the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Napoleon held him up to the window to see the soldiers parading in the courtyard of the Carousel below, he last saw his uncle with the family at the Château de Malmaison, shortly before Napoleon departed for Waterloo. All members of the Bonaparte dynasty were forced into exile after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the Bourbon Restoration of monarchy in France.
Hortense and Louis-Napoleon moved from Aix to Berne to Baden, to a lakeside house at Arenenberg in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. He received some of his education in Germany at the gymnasium school at Bavaria; as a result, for the rest of his life his French had a noticeable German accent. His tutor at home was Philippe Le Bas, an ardent republican and the son of a revolutionary and close friend of Robespierre. Le Bas taught him radical politics; when Louis-Napoleon was fifteen, Hortense moved to Rome. He passed his time learning Italian, exploring the ancient ruins, learning the arts of seduction and romantic affairs, which he used in his life, he became friends with the French Ambassador, François-René Chateaubriand, the father of romanticism in French literature, with whom he remained in contact for many years. He was reunited with his older brother Napoléon Louis, together they became involved with the Carbonari, secret revolutionary societies fighting Austria's domination of northern Italy.
In the spring of 1831, when he was twenty-three, the Austrian and papal governments launched an offensive against the Carbonari, the two brothers, wanted by the police, were forced to flee. During their flight Napoleon-Louis contracted measles and, on 17 March 1831, died i
St James's is a central district in the City of Westminster, forming part of the West End. In the 17th century the area developed as a residential location for the British aristocracy, around the 19th century was the focus of the development of gentlemen's clubs. Anciently part of the parish of St Martin in the Fields, much of it formed the parish of St James from 1685 to 1922. Since the Second World War the area has transitioned from residential to commercial use; the area's name is derived from the dedication of a 12th-century leper hospital to Saint James the Less. The hospital site is now occupied by St James's Palace; the area became known as "Clubland" because of the historic presence of gentlemen's clubs. The section of Regent Street that runs between Waterloo Place and Piccadilly Circus has been renamed'Regent Street St James'. St James's was once part of the same royal park as St. James's Park. In the 1660s, Charles II gave the right to develop the area to Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans who developed it as a predominantly aristocratic residential area around a grid of streets centred on St James's Square.
Until the Second World War, St James's remained one of the most exclusive residential enclaves in London. Notable residences include St James's Palace, Clarence House, Marlborough House, Lancaster House, Spencer House, Schomberg House, Norfolk House and Bridgewater House. St James's was in the ancient parish of St Martin in the Fields in the Liberty of Westminster. Attempts made in 1664, 1668 and 1670 to separate St James's from the parish were resisted by St Martin's vestry; the building of St James's Church, Piccadilly in 1684 forced the issue, a new parish of St James within the Liberty of Westminster was created in 1685. The parish stretched from Oxford Street in the north to Pall Mall in the south, it corresponded to the contemporary St James's area, but extended into parts of Soho and Mayfair. Land south of Pall Mall remained in St Martin in the Fields' parish, St James's Park was split between the parishes of St Martin and St Margaret. St James's Palace was an extra-parochial area and not part of any parish.
A select vestry was created for the new parish. For elections to Westminster City Council, the area is part of the St James's ward; the ward includes Covent Garden, Strand and part of Mayfair. The ward elects three councillors. St James's is bounded to the north by Piccadilly, to the west by Green Park, to the south by The Mall and St. James's Park, to the east by Haymarket. Notable streets include: St James's Square, which retains many of its original houses but is in office use; the London Library is located there. Jermyn Street, an upmarket retail street best known for bespoke shirtmakers and shops offering the finest gentlemen's attire. Pall Mall, which contains many of London's gentlemen's clubs, it is home to Marlborough House, the seat of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Québec Government Office in London. Crown Passage, a narrow street which splits off from Pall Mall opposite Marlborough House and is home to the Red Lion, one of the oldest pubs in London's West End to still be in business.
Haymarket was once the best-known centre of prostitution in London. It contains two historic theatres: Her Majesty's Theatre. Carlton House Terrace, a pair of grand terraces of houses designed by John Nash overlooking St. James's Park. St James's Street; the following utilises the accepted boundaries of St James’s, viz. Piccadilly to the north and Cockspur Street to the east, The Mall to the south and Queen’s Walk to the west. Angel Court – thought to be after a former inn of this name Apple Tree Yard – thought to be after the apple trees to be found here.
St James's Square
St James's Square is the only square in the exclusive St James's district of the City of Westminster. It has a garden in the centre. For its first two hundred or so years it was one of the three or four most fashionable residential multi-owner estates in London, it is now home to the headquarters of a number of well-known businesses, including BP and Rio Tinto Group. Based in the square is the premises of the think tank Chatham House. A principal feature of the square is an equestrian statue of William III erected in 1808. In 1662 Charles II extended a lease over the 45 acres of Pall Mall Field held by Henry Jermyn, 1st Earl of St Albans to 1720 and soon afterwards the earl began to lay out the property for development; the earl petitioned the king that the class of occupants they both hoped to attract to the new district would not take houses without the prospect of acquiring them outright, in 1665 the king granted the freehold of the site of St. James's Square and some adjacent parts of the field to the earl's trustees.
The location was convenient for the royal palaces of St James. The houses on the east and west sides of the square were soon developed, each of them being constructed separately as was usual at that time. In the 1720s seven dukes and seven earls were in residence; the east and western sides of the square contained some of the most desirable houses in London. At first glance they do not appear much different from most other houses in the fashionable parts of the West End, but this is deceptive; the windows were more spaced than most, the ceilings were high, deep plots and ingenious planning allowed some of the houses to contain a large amount of accommodation indeed. Some of the houses had fine interiors by leading architects such as Matthew Brettingham, Robert Adam and John Soane; the southern side of the square was much more modest. The plots were an average of 22 feet wide, they faced Pall Mall and had Pall Mall numbers. The residents of these houses were not eligible to be trustees of the trust which administered the square or to use the central garden.
The idea of buying them out, demolishing their houses and leaving the space open to the Pall Mall was raised more than once, but never implemented. Things began to change by the 1830s with the arrival of club-houses, in 1844 The Builder commented that the square was losing caste and the fashionable were migrating to Belgravia. By 1857 the square contained a bank, an insurance society, two government offices, the London Library, two lodging-houses and three clubs. However, some of the houses continued to be occupied by the fashionable and wealthy into the twentieth century; the Libyan embassy in St James's Square was the site of the 1984 Libyan Embassy Siege. According to a news report of the time: A police officer has been killed and ten people injured after shots were fired from the Libyan People's Bureau in central London. WPC Yvonne Fletcher had been helping control a small demonstration outside the embassy when automatic gunfire came from outside, she received a fatal stomach wound and some of the demonstrators were severely injured.
WPC Fletcher, 25, died soon afterwards at Westminster Hospital. The numbering starts with Number 1 to the north of Charles Street on the eastern side of the square and proceeds anti-clockwise as far as Number 21; the Army and Navy Club's clubhouse occupies the former sites of Number 22, a smaller adjacent house which may have had a George Street number, several former houses in Pall Mall. Norfolk House at the southern end of the square is Number 31, the two houses to its north are Numbers 32 and 33. A small house in the angle of the square south of Norfolk House numbered in John Street, the adjacent house in Pall Mall, have been combined and allocated the number 31A; the smaller houses along the southern side had Pall Mall numbers until 1884. This block is now occupied by a mixture of 19th and 20th century buildings which are built up to the pavements on both sides; some of them have their main entrance in Pall Mall and others in the square, there are two separate sets of numbers for them. The numbers in the square range with some omissions.
No. 1: BP head office. Occupies the site of the former No. 2 and several demolished houses in Charles Street. It is a post-modern building dating from c. 2000. It was built to be Ericsson's London office and was sold to BP for £117 million in 2001. No. 3: The original house had many owners and tenants, including the holders of at least three separate dukedoms, was worked on by various architects including John Soane. General Augustus Pitt-Rivers lived in the house as a child during the 1840s; the present building is a 1930s office block. No. 4: The Naval and Military Club in a Georgian house of 1726–28 by Edward Shepherd. Former home of Nancy Astor and the only house in the square to retain its large garden and the original mews house to the rear. No. 5: Present house by Matthew Brettingham 1748–9. Refronted in stone, porch added, attic converted into a full storey in 1854. Now offices. No. 6: Rio Tinto
Christie's is a British auction house. It was founded in 1766 by James Christie, its main premises are on King Street, St James's, in London and in the Rockefeller Center in New York City. The company is owned by the holding company of François-Henri Pinault. Sales in 2015 totalled £4.8 billion. In 2017 the Salvator Mundi was sold for $450.3 million at Christie's, which at that time was the highest price paid for a single painting at an auction. The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766. However, other sources note that James Christie rented auction rooms from 1762, newspaper advertisements for Christie's sales dating from 1759 have been traced. Christie's was a public company, listed on the London Stock Exchange, from 1973 to 1999. In 1974, Jo Floyd was appointed chairman of Christie's, he served as chairman of Christie's International plc from 1976 to 1988, until handing over to Lord Carrington, was a non-executive director until 1992.
Christie's International Inc. held its first sale in the United States in 1977. Christie's growth was steady since 1989, when it had 42 % of the auction market. In 1990, the company reversed a long-standing policy and guaranteed a minimum price for a collection of artworks in its May auctions. In 1996, sales exceeded those of Sotheby's for the first time since 1954. However, profits did not grow at the same pace. In 1993, Christie's paid $12.7 million for the London gallery Spink & Son, which specialised in Oriental art and British paintings. The company bought Leger Gallery for $3.3 million in 1996, merged it with Spink to become Spink-Leger. Spink-Leger closed in 2002. To make itself competitive with Sotheby's in the property market, Christie's bought Great Estates in 1995 the largest network of independent estate agents in North America, changing its name to Christie's Great Estates Inc. In December 1997, under the chairmanship of Lord Hindlip, Christie's put itself on the auction block, but after two months of negotiations with the consortium-led investment firm SBC Warburg Dillon Read it did not attract a bid high enough to accept.
In May 1998, François Pinault's holding company, Groupe Artémis S. A. first bought 29.1 percent of the company for $243.2 million, subsequently purchased the rest of it in a deal that valued the entire company at $1.2 billion. The company has since not been reporting profits, its policy, in line with UK accounting standards, is to convert non-UK results using an average exchange rate weighted daily by sales throughout the year. In 2002, Christie's France held its first auction in Paris. Like Sotheby's, Christie's became involved in high-profile private transactions. In 2006, Christie's offered a reported $21 million guarantee to the Donald Judd Foundation and displayed the artist's works for five weeks in an exhibition that won an AICA award for "Best Installation in an Alternative Space". In 2007 it brokered a $68 million deal that transferred Thomas Eakins's The Gross Clinic from the Jefferson Medical College at the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia to joint ownership by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
In the same year, the Haunch of Venison gallery became a subsidiary of the company. On 28 December 2008, The Sunday Times reported that Pinault's debts left him "considering" the sale of Christie's and that a number of "private equity groups" were thought to be interested in its acquisition. In January 2009, the company employed 2,100 people worldwide, though an unspecified number of staff and consultants were soon to be cut due to a worldwide downturn in the art market. With sales for premier Impressionist and contemporary artworks tallying only US$248.8 million in comparison to US$739 million just a year before, a second round of job cuts began after May 2009. Guy Bennett resigned just before to the beginning of the summer 2009 sales season. Although the economic downturn has encouraged some collectors to sell art, others are unwilling to sell in a market which may yield only bargain prices. On 1 January 2017, Guillaume Cerutti was appointed chief executive officer. Patricia Barbizet was appointed chief executive officer of Christie's in 2014, the first female CEO of the company.
She replaced Steven Murphy, hired in 2010 to develop their online presence and launch in new markets, such as China. In 2012, Impressionist works, which dominated the market during the 1980s boom, were replaced by contemporary art as Christie's top category. Asian art was the third most-lucrative area. With income from classic auctioneering falling, treaty sales made £413.4 million in the first half of 2012, an increase of 53% on the same period last year. The company has promoted curated events, centred on a theme rather than an art classification or time period; as part of a companywide review in 2017, Christie's announced the layoffs of 250 employees, or 12 percent of the total work force, based in Britain and Europe. From 2008 until 2013, Christie's charged 25 percent for the first $50,000. From 2013, it charged 25 percent for the first $75,000. Christie's main London salesroom is on
St James's Street
St James's Street is the principal street in the district of St James's, central London. It runs from Piccadilly downhill to St James's Pall Mall; the main gatehouse of the Palace is at the southern end of the road, in the 17th century Clarendon House faced down the street across Piccadilly on the site of most of Albemarle Street. St James's Street was built up without an overall plan but received a boost with Lord St Albans' planned construction of St. James's Square of harmonious grand town houses. Today St James's Street contains several of London's best-known gentlemen's clubs, such as Boodle's, Brooks's, the Carlton Club and White's, some exclusive shops and various offices. A series of small side streets on its western side lead to some expensive properties overlooking Green Park, including Spencer House and the Royal Over-Seas League at the end of Park Place. Two 18th-century yards survive behind the noble frontages and giant orders of columns or pilasters of the street. One is Blue Ball Yard, with stables built in 1742.
The other is Pickering Place, with four informal Georgian brick houses of 1731. Jermyn Street, noted for gentlemen's tailors and associated shops, leads off St James's Street to the east; the nearest tube station is Green Park to the west on Piccadilly. St. James's Street is referenced in T. S. Eliot's "Bustopher Jones: The Cat About Town" from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, wherein Bustopher Jones, a parody of an Edwardian gentleman of leisure, is described as "the St. James's Street Cat". St. James's Street was featured as the new location for the fictional headquarters of the Kingsman Secret Service in the 2017 film, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. St James's Church, Piccadilly St. James's Park St James's Place St. James's Square Cavendish Hotel London, located on the corner of Jermyn Street and Duke Street, St James's
St James's Theatre
The St James's Theatre was in King Street, St James's, London. It opened in 1835 and was demolished in 1957; the theatre was built for a popular singer, John Braham. A succession of managements over the next forty years failed to make it a commercial success, the St James's acquired a reputation as an unlucky theatre, it was not until 1879–1888, under the management of the actors John Hare and Madge and W. H. Kendal that the theatre began to prosper; the Hare-Kendal management was succeeded, after brief and disastrous attempts by other lessees, by that of the actor-manager George Alexander, in charge from 1891 until his death in 1918. Under Alexander the house gained a reputation for programming, adventurous without going too far for the tastes of London society. Among the plays he presented were Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest, A. W. Pinero's The Second Mrs Tanqueray. After Alexander's death the theatre came under the control of a succession of managements.
Among the long-running productions were The Last of Mrs Cheyney, The Late Christopher Bean and Ladies in Retirement. In January 1950 Laurence Olivier and his wife Vivien Leigh took over the management of the theatre, their successes included Venus Observed and for the 1951 Festival of Britain season Caesar and Cleopatra and Antony and Cleopatra. In 1954 Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables began a run of 726 performances, the longest in the history of the St James's. During the run it emerged that a property developer had acquired the freehold of the theatre and obtained the requisite legal authority to knock it down and replace it with an office block. Despite widespread protests the theatre closed in July 1957 and was demolished in December of that year. In 1878 Old and New London commented that the St James's Theatre owed its existence "to one of those unaccountable infatuations which stake the earnings of a lifetime upon a hazardous speculation". John Braham, a veteran operatic star, planned a theatre in the fashionable St James's area, on a site in King Street, bounded by Crown Passage to the west, Angel Court to the east and buildings in Pall Mall to the south.
A hotel called Nerot's had stood there since the 17th century, but was by now abandoned and decaying. To generate income, the façade would incorporate two shops. Building and opening the theatre were not straightforward; the Theatres Trust comments that Braham quarrelled with his architect, Samuel Beazley, other professional advisers and contractors. He faced difficulties in obtaining the necessary licence to open a theatre; the licence was issued by the Lord Chamberlain on the instructions of William IV, but Braham continued to encounter opposition from rivals. The theatre, which cost Braham £28,000, was designed with a neo-classical exterior and a Louis XIV style interior built by the partnership of Grissell and Peto; the frontage was in three bays, three storeys high, with shops in each outer bay. The façade had a four-column Ionic portico, a balustraded balcony and a two-storey loggia topped by a tall sheer attic; the interior was decorated by the Frederick Crace Company of London. After the opening, The Times described it in detail: The prevailing colour is a delicate French white.
A border of flowers, richly embossed in gold, runs round the dress circle, has a tasteful and elegant effect. The panels of the boxes in the front of the first circle are ornamented by designs, in the style of Watteau, placed in gilded frames of fanciful workmanship. … The front of the slips and gallery are distinguished by neat gold ornaments, relieved by handsome medallions. The proscenium, like that of Covent-garden, is shell-form, is painted in compartments, where the loves and graces are depicted gaily disporting. Two slender fluted Corinthian columns, supported on pedestals of imitative marble, add to the beauty of the stage-boxes. A series of arches, supporting the roof, sustained by caryatides, runs round the upper part of the theatre.... The tout ensemble of the house is brilliant, it looks like a fairy palace. The two great points which are most important to the comfort of an audience – hearing and seeing – have been sedulously consulted; the theatre opened on 14 December 1835 with a triple bill consisting of two farces by Gilbert à Beckett and an opera, Agnes Sorel, with music by his wife, Mary Anne à Beckett.
This ran for a month before being replaced by one of the few successes of Braham's tenure, another bill containing an operetta – Monsieur Jacques – and a farce, The Strange Gentleman, by "Boz". In April 1836 the first of many visiting French companies played at the theatre, a tradition that endured intermittently throughout the 122-year existence of the St James's; the theatre did not attract the public in the numbers. Braham struggled financially and after three seasons he gave up. John Hooper Braham's stage director, ran the theatre for four months in 1839, his programmes included the presentation of performing lions, monkeys and goats. In November 1839 Alfred Bunn, whom the theatre critic and historian J. C. Trewin called a former "autocrat of Drury Lane and Covent Garden", took over the house, changed its name to "The Prince's Theatre" in honour of the Prince Consort. Among Bunn's early offerings was a season of German opera, b