Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone

Brighton Pavilion December 2012 Exhibitions-Pagodas-Queen Caroline- Charlotte Princess of Wales

Posted in Brighton Pavillion Exhibitions of Queen Caroline and Charlotte Princess of Wales by sheelanagigcomedienne on January 10, 2013

Went to Brighton in December on a lovely cold but sunny day. We get the train to Hove and walk along the promenade. We visited the Pavillion again with my Art Fund card.

There was an exhibition about Queen Charlotte and her daughter Caroline and a lovely exhibition of pagodas by Geraldine Pilgrim.

The Royal Pavillion was built for the Prince Regent, later King George IV, in stages between 1787 and 1823, as a seaside retreat. Being remote from the Royal Court in London, the Pavilion was also a discreet location for the Prince to enjoy liaisons with his long-time companion, Mrs Fitzherbert.

The Royal Pavilion is remarkable for its exotic oriental appearance both inside and out. This magnificent royal pleasure palace was revered by fashionable Regency society and is still a distinctive landmark for vibrant Brighton & Hove today. The Royal Pavilion is also home to some of the finest collections and examples of the chinoiserie style in Britain.

Brighton PavillionAfter the death of George IV in 1830, his successor William IV also stayed in the Pavilion on his frequent visits to Brighton. However, Queen Victoria disliked Brighton and the lack of privacy the Pavilion afforded her on her visits there, especially once Brighton became accessible to Londoners by rail in 1841, and the cramped quarters it provided her growing family.

After her last visit to Brighton in 1845, the Government planned to sell the building and grounds. The Brighton Commissioners and the Brighton Vestry successfully petitioned the Government to sell the Pavilion to the town for £53,000 in 1850 under the Brighton Improvement (Purchase of the Royal Pavilion and Grounds) Act 1850. In 1860, the adjacent royal stables were converted to a concert hall now known as the Brighton Dome.

BrightonPavillion Blue

During the First World War, the Pavilion, along with other sites in Brighton, was transformed into a military hospital. From November 1914 to early 1916, recovering soldiers from the Imperial Indian Army were stationed there – the adjacent Dome (now a theatre) was equipped with an operating room and more beds. The Pavilion was partly used in imperial efforts to convince potential Indian recruits that their wounded countrymen were being well treated: a series of photographs was produced, with the official sanction of the state, showing the resplendent rooms converted into hospital wards (few pictures were taken of the local workhouse, renamed the Kitchener Indian Hospital, now Brighton General Hospital, which housed the majority of wounded troops). The soldiers also received visits from Lord Kitchener in July 1915,and King George V in August of the same year who presented several soldiers with military honours. In 1916, the Indian Soldiers were moved on from Brighton after their redeployment in the Middle East. By that stage, roughly 14,000 wounded Indian servicemen had passed through the town’s hospitals. After that point, the Pavilion continued to be used as a hospital for wounded British soldiers until the end of the war in 1918.

Octagaon Hall, Royal Pavilion, BrightonWhen we visited there was an exhibition about Caroline of Brunswick who was so ill-treated by George IV.

Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel – Caroline Amelia Elizabeth; later Queen Caroline; 17 May 1768 – 7 August 1821 was the Queen Consort  of George IV from 29 January 1820 until her death. Between 1795 and 1820, she was Princess of Wales.

QueenCaroline1820  Caroline_of_Brunswick

Her mother, Princess Augusta  was the sister of George III . In 1794, Charlotte was engaged to George III’s eldest son and heir although they had never met and George was already married illegally to Maria Fitzherbert. George and Caroline married the following year, and nine months later  she gave birth to her daughter, Charlotte, Princess Charlotte of Wales.

Shortly after Charlotte’s birth, George and Caroline separated. By 1806, rumours that Caroline had taken lovers and had an illegitimate child led to an investigation into her private liharlottefe. The dignitaries who led the investigation concluded that there was “no foundation” to the rumours, but Caroline’s access to her daughter was restricted.

In 1814, Caroline left England and moved to Italy, where she employed Bartolomeo Pergami as a servant. Pergami soon became Caroline’s closest companion, and it was widely assumed that they were lovers. In 1817, Caroline was devastated when her daughter Charlotte died in childbirth; she heard the news from a passing courier as George had refused to write and tell her. He was determined to divorce Caroline, and set up a second investigation to collect evidence of her adultery.

In 1820, George became King and Caroline returned to Britain to assert her position as Queen. She became the figurehead of a popular reform movement that opposed the unpopular George. On the basis of the evidence collected against her, George attempted to divorce her  but George and the bill were so unpopular, and Caroline so popular with the masses, that it was withdrawn by the governmnet. The following year, in July 1821, Caroline fell ill after she was barred from thecoronation on the orders of her husband. She died three weeks later, and her body was buried in her native Brunswick.


Had Charlotte, their only child, outlived her father and her grandfather,she would have become Queen of the United Kingdom, but she died following childbirth at the age of 21.

Charlotte’s parents disliked each other from before their pre-arranged marriage and soon separated. Prince George left most of Charlotte’s care to governesses and servants, but only allowed her limited contact with Princess Caroline, who eventually left the country. As Charlotte grew to adulthood, her father pressured her to marry William of Orange. She broke off the match which resulted in an extended contest of wills between her and her father, and finally the Prince of Wales permitted her to marry Prince Leopold, later King of the Belgians. The Coburgs, as they came to be called, spent the Christmas holidays at the Brighton Pavilion with various other royals. On 7 January, the Prince Regent gave a huge ball there to celebrate Charlotte’s 21st birthday. After a year and a half of happy marriage, Charlotte died after giving birth to a stillborn son.

Charlotte’s death set off tremendous mourning among the British, who had seen her as a sign of hope and a contrast both to her unpopular father and to her grandfather, whom they deemed mad.Henry Brougham wrote of the public reaction to Charlotte’s death, “It really was as though every household throughout Great Britain had lost a favourite child. The whole kingdom went into deep mourning; linen-drapers ran out of black cloth. Even the poor and homeless tied armbands of black on their clothes. The shops closed for two weeks, as did the Royal Exchange, the Law Courts, and the docks. Even gambling dens shut down on the day of her funeral, as a mark of respect.’

Much of Charlotte’s day to day care was undertaken by Sir Richard Croft who was not a physician, but an accoucheur, or male midwife, much in fashion among the well-to-do. Croft and Charlotte’s personal physician, decided to send for obstetrician John Sims. However, Croft did not allow Sims to see the patient, and forceps were not used. Many blamed Croft, for his care of the Princess.  Three months after Charlotte’s death and while attending another young woman, Croft snatched up a gun and fatally shot himself. The “triple obstetric tragedy”—death of child, mother, and practitioner—led to significant changes in obstetric practice, with obstetricians who favoured intervention in protracted labour, including in particular more liberal use of forceps, gaining ground over those who did not.

As she had been King George III’s only legitimate grandchild, there was considerable pressure on the King’s unwed sons to marry. King George III’s fourth son, Edward, fathered the eventual heir, Victoria.Leopold, by then King of the Belgians, served as long-distance advisor to his niece, and was able to secure her marriage to his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg.

The Lost Pagodas exhibion was sumptious.PavilionPagodas Geraldine Pilgrim found the idea of the lost pagodas of the Royal Pavilion totally inspiring and has created an installation of four pagodas that would temporarily replace them. These self-contained structures, placed in different areas around the building, will visually echo the essence of the spirit of the Royal Pavilion: opulence with a hint of naughtiness.  The pagodas celebrate the Prince Regent’s passions of food, music and love while bringing an extra quality of light to the already visually powerful existing spaces, adding rather than competing with the décor. Pagoda shiny

Pavilion Contemporary: The Lost Pagodas, an Installation by G


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