CHISWICK HOUSE THEMED TOURS BLOG LECTURES RESEARCH GALLERY

Quotes regarding Lord Burlington, Freemasonry and Jacobitism

‘On his watch at Chiswick House, Ricky has systematically pursued all the different strands of possibilities and probabilities which the enigmatic Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, left behind him. I had the pleasure of being given by Ricky a "private view" of Burlington's Palladian villa and I am totally persuaded that Ricky's narrative resonates with the the reality, hidden on different levels, that Burlington, outwardly a prominent Whig grandee, and a conforming member of the Erastian Church of England, was one of the most committed crypto-Jacobites of his times, developing an astonishingly complex, rich in symbolism and allegory, vision of the Divinely ordained destiny of the Royal House of Stuart, affirmed by the confluence of hidden data representing quite diverse and mutually exclusive religio-philosophical systems. Ricky's conclusion on the basis of all the evidence in the construction and decoration of Chiswick House is that Lord Burlington intended to build nothing less than a Temple for the Return of the True King, a theory which is proven beyond reasonable doubt and which I embrace’

(Correspondence from Stelios Rigopoulos (25th November 2014), Executive Council Member of the Royal Stewart Society)

‘Dear Ricky,

I have read your article with great interest. You have succeeded in doing what I was not able to do 17 years ago at Chiswick, which is to say, interpret one of the main room decorations as a coherent representation of Masonry, in a way that actually makes sense. I am entirely convinced by your identification of Inigo Jones with Hiram Abif, and your reading of the star and arch. I think you also may have discovered something very interesting about early Masonry, mainly its tendency to rewrite its own history and significance’.

(Email correspondence received 15th December 2008 from Professor Paul Kleber Monod, author of Jacobitism and the English people, 1688- 1788, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989 & Solomon’s Secret Art: The Occult in the Age of Enlightenment Yale: Yale University Press, 2013).

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‘At Burlington’s Villa at Chiswick, the central ceiling painting (attributed to Kent) of the Red Velvet Room seems to allude to the Masonic legend of the murder of Hiram, Master Mason of Solomon's Temple. This legend was published in Samuel Prichard’s Masonry Dissected, a volume which appeared at exactly the same time as the Red Velvet Room was under construction, and Hiram is depicted as a supine past of Inigo Jones. It is also been suggested that the cadaver-like head may allude to the unlawful murder of King Charles I, and that Burlington may therefore have been a covert Jacobite. It is not unlikely that this was so, for, after all, the Boyles owed their meteoric rise to the Stuarts, and Burlington would not have been alone in hedging his bets. As Colvin observed, Burlington’s ‘cult of Palladianism, far from reflecting any Whig ideology, could be seen as a conscious reversion to the architectural ideals of the early Stuart court during the surveyorship of Inigo Jones’. Quite so, but it could also have been a deliberate attempt to underscore the claims to legitimate Succession of the House of Hanover’.

(James Stevens Curl, Georgian Architecture in the British Isles 1714-1830, Swindon: English Heritage Books, 2011, p.22-23).

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(Lord Burlington) was a clandestine Jacobite whose true loyalty was to James III across the water, but someone who at the same time who always took good care to distance himself from anybody too transparently linked to the cause…So we are confronted by a mystery man, a kind of double agent. To this we can add his role as freemason, belonging to a line of descent of secret societies going back to the Rosicrucians at the beginning of the previous century. These societies were inextricably linked to the Stuart cause and in the post-Restoration period a new higher degree of membership emerged, the Royal Arch, to which it seems Burlington belonged. By the mid 1720s Jacobite freemasonry went underground, adding to the mystery’…


(Roy Strong, The Spirit of England: A Narrative History of the Arts,  Pimlico,2000, page 248)


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‘The structures and interiors of Chiswick House are so blatantly free-masonic that there is strong evidence that it might also have been used as a venue for a lodge. Can the gardens and plantings be similarly read? The gate piers are flanked by sphinxes and the forecourts patrolled by herms evoking the association of a territory of ancient and arcane mysteries in a dramatic, poetic landscape whose temples, 50 statues and inscriptions are the players. The west entry was marked with a circular clearing with an obelisk (recently restored) and a fir tree - Stourhead used the same motif. Fir trees planted close to obelisks as a welcoming sign to Jacobites and affectionately known as ‘Charlie Trees’ by Catholics. The freemasonic association is with the sun as a symbol of continuity, power, stability as well as resurrection and immortality. A potent symbol over 100’ feet high at Stourhead. The Great lawn was flanked by Cedar of Lebanon and the exedra enclosed by yew, a dark backdrop for the statues of Socrates, Lycurgus and Lucius Verus noted for their practical opposition to tyranny’

(Caroline Holmes, A Rose by any other name? An introduction to the Symbolism of Plants and Planting in Herausger/Snoak/Scholl/ Kroon (eds.), Symbolism in 18th Century Gardens: The Influence of Intellectual and a Esoteric Current, such as Freemasonry, OVN, 2006, p.95-96)





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