During his stay in Isleworth, Vincent once visited Hampton Court Palace, the centuries-old Surrey residence of monarchs including Charles I (1600–1649) and his wife, Henrietta Maria (1609–1669). The imposing castle’s history, gardens and collection spoke to Vincent’s imagination:
“And I couldn’t help thinking vividly of the people who have lived at Hampton Court, of Charles I and his wife (she was the one who said ‘I thank Thee, God, for having made me Queen, though an unhappy Queen’, and at whose graveside Bossuet spoke from the abundance of his heart.”
“je Te remercie mon Dieu de m’avoir fait Reine, mais Reine malheureuse”
Vincent wrote about his visit in a letter to Theo, enclosing a rook’s feather from the park. He described the beautiful garden, with its long lanes of chestnut and lime trees, and mentioned paintings by artists including Giovanni Bellini (c. 1435/38–1516), Titian (c. 1485/90–1576), Rembrandt (1606/7–1669), Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) and Andrea Mantegna (1430–1506).