Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Love Was In The Heir (George IV's Palace)

Taylor Speer-Sims
January 22, 2012


(Link-photo credit http://thesassycountess.blogspot.com/2013/12/clothing-of-andrew-and-rachel-jackson.html)

Love Was in the Heir

                                                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brighton_Royal_Pavilion.jpg


The Royal Pavilion at Brighton
                                                             Known to George IV as his
                                                                     Hindoo Palace




Brighton’s Royal Pavilion had belonged to the Prince, later to be His Majesty, King of England, George IV. He had tried to set himself apart from his stiff father and his boring court. He wanted to be independent and creative. He had been a lover of art and architecture, and of course, women. It was George IV’s love of opulence that had been the catalyst for choosing oriental architecture for his private palace.

George IV was the son of the infamous mad King George III. George IV ruled as Regent while his father had been incapacitated due to illness. George IV had been his father’s complete opposite. He wanted to live as easily as possibly. He did not like the stuffiness of his father’s court.[1]

            There had been rigidity in the court of his father that he did not liken to. George IV wanted to distance himself from what he had considered to be old and confining. George IV had been considered a political conservative when compared against his father. He did not care for the rules of Parliament in regards to religion and the British Throne. This had been advertised by his secret marriage to a Catholic. To be certain of  the decendentcy, his father had technically illegitimatized this union. However, George IV continued to live with Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert for years.[2]

            For years the Prince Regent had loved wonderful, luxurious, beautiful, and fast, things. He loved rich foods and luxurious fabrics. George IV also loved to gamble. He loved fast horses, and fast women. Beautiful art and architecture had also been one of his elaborate indulgences.

                                                                      King George IV
                                                            http://www.awesomestories.com/assets/the-kings-son
                              
George III wore a wonderfully elaborate powdered wig for years. So too did George IV. At least he did so early in his adult life. It was the introduction to less elaborate fashions by Beau Brummell that changed all that. He was fascinated by Brummell’s ease and beauty. Brummell had been the toast of male fashion, and George IV wanted to be a part of that society.[1] George had even paid “30 ducats” for a coat to keep up with his fashionable company.[2]
            That lighthearted society had been the exact opposite of his father’s society. Even though he had decreed to love Mrs. Fitzherbert forever, this did not stop him from having other amours. He in fact had been required to marry his cousin, Caroline of Brunswick, to try and produce a legitimate heir. By paying his tremendous debts his father blackmailed him into complying with this arrangement. But, he could not stand his Protestant cousin bride. So, he again turned to Maria and his other “licentious” dalliances for comfort.[3]
            Comfort had been what he thought that he needed when he first arrived in Brighton. He had gone there at first for medical treatment. He had a “glandular swelling of the hand and neck” that needed immediate attention.[4] This visit may possibly have been to escape his father’s stifling court. Whatever the initial reasons, he found that he enjoyed the free lifestyle there. [5]
            Enjoying the area so much had been the catalyst for purchasing a modest house there. The modest House was purchased in 1786. Construction began the next year, and continued for the next thirty-seven years under the guidance of the Prince Regent.  Evolving from that simple domicile into the grand palace did not happen in one stage. The house turned into what had been termed the Marine Pavilion in 1787.[6]
 
                                                                The Marine Pavilion




Henry Holland had been commissioned to design the Marine Pavilion. This had been a grand neo-classical mansion with two wings attached to the original building. It had been enlarged again in 1801-1802 by one of Holland’s assistants.  P.F. Robinson added a dining room and a conservatory but it had still “not suitable for the large social events and entertaining that George loved to host”.[1]  Another addition created the craze that followed.[2]

              The Royal Stables at The Royal Pavilion

William Porden had designed the addition of the stable that had been completed in 1808. Porden created a stable that dwarfed the mansion. Since the Prince loved his horses, he visited there often. What was so interesting about this building, besides the size, was the architectural style. This stable had been built in the exotic Indian style.[1]
            The Indian style took hold of the Prince. George IV hired John Nash to turn his classical mansion into an oriental masterpiece. Nash began the transformation in 1815. By this time, George IV had received his title of Prince Regent officially. Not only had his beautiful stables inspired the Regent, but also a book on Oriental Scenery had inspired Nash. The two worked together in creating this masterpiece.[2]
            This masterpiece had been built in the “Indo-Saraceneic architectural style” as it is called today.[3] But, the Regent just called it his “Hindoo Palace”.[4] The Indian influence has been obviously important with the architecture. However, there are subtle Chinese influences on the outside as well.[5] These were not apparent to the uneducated eye. While an interest in the outside world was being kindled, there was no true amount of understanding of reality or its intricacies. All Oriental features just appeared foreign and exotic to most British during the reign of George IV. [6]
            Nash and the Regent became educated in orientalist style as they went along with the construction process. Not only had the foreign style been chosen, but they also chose to use the foreign substance that went along with it. Stucco had been introduced from China and had used to cover the outer structure as well as some inside walls. The building had included rounded walls to emphasize the irregularity, asymmetry, as well as movement that were becoming important in rococo architecture at the time.[7]
            Rococo, and especially oriental architecture, had come to be thought of as a sign of  exotic luxury.[8] Only the rich could afford such extravagances. It had also come to mean less formal and having refined tastes. Every beau monde had to have some sort of oriental piece within their house to be considered fashionable.[9] The Regent’s Pavilion could certainly claim that.

                                                    Palm Tree Columns
             The Pavilion also included many oriental interiors. Frederick Crace and Robert Jones were the interior architects/designers. The exotic architecture of the palm tree columns in the Banqueting room hide iron that supported that roof. [1] The Saloon had window and door casements that were designed to look like Persian valances.[2]  The entrance hall had walls that had been shaped and hung with Roman tent drapery, with a Chinese lantern hung from the center ceiling. All this to impress the entering ton. [3]
            The banqueting hall was a display of decadent orientalism that every member of the ton deigned to dine. Palm fronds adorned the ceiling. Murals of Chinese scenes decorated the majority of the walls. The areas that were not so covered, were done so with silk wallpaper. Masonic emblems were embedded in the foreign style to remind the diner of the Regent’s position of Grand Master in the local temple. Chinoiserie flowering had been the overall theme.[4]
                                                                                       Banquet Hall

                                                    http://wweston.blogspot.com/2010/11/reading-comp-5.html


            The theme of the long gallery had been oriental. There were Chinese statues and vases. African style vases. Chinese lantern gasoliers hung from the elaborate ceiling. The walls were painted in a rococo style and color bamboo design. And, a Persian style carpet covered the floor. Contemporary style bamboo chairs were placed for seating of the guests while they looked at Japanese lacquer cabinets.[1]
            Guests could not enter the Prince Regent’s personal apartments. These were decorated with bright blue paints with bamboo trim work. The overlaid trellis is done in a geometric style that resembles stained glass. There are Chinese dragons and characters on the inside of the trey ceilings, and above some doors. Other doors appear to have a type of hieroglyph over them. Whatever the technical style, George IV loved these apartments.[2]

                                                            The Long Gallery 

                                               http://pavilionfoundation.org/support-us/membership/membership-benefits
            George IV felt more at ease here than most places. He could be himself. He did not want to live a formal life. So, the oriental surroundings suited that mood. Although more ceremonious than what is considered formal today, the Hindoo Palace did not comply with that meaning during the Regency period. The Regent would have been more casual with his friends within its walls.
            While still more casual, the sense of grandeur would have been unmistakable. No one could forget that George IV had been heir to the Throne. Palaces had always been built to convey majesty and soft power.[1] And, as only a specific few would have been invited in, the Regent also showed his partiality to those that were[2]. People have always wanted what they could not have, and the Regent knew this. George IV exercised elitism fluently.
            Elites of only the British aristocrats had been invited in. At least not as personal guests. George IV put many characteristics of many contemporary and future British colonies into the Royal Pavilion. But, these peoples remained uninvited during the time that this palace was actually lived in. “Imperialism [had been] accompanied by racism.”[3]           
            Racist Englishmen built the foreign styled palace. Anglo-Saxon gentlemen attended the events and soirĂ©es within walls that had been decorated of distant places. Nothing had been considered too outlandish for those that entered. It felt like they had entered an alien local. This was an exotic place that mesmerized everyone.
            Exotic and picturesque, the palace had been set on beautiful grounds. The flowering shrubs had been planted early in the building process. Other plants and flowers had been planted to give the feeling of informal walkways. Getting back to nature had been indicative of the picturesque style with regards to ancient times and cultures.[4] Getting to the feelings and simpler beginnings had been a sign of romantic leanings.

                                                                        Grounds


Romantic poets would certainly have come in contact with the Regent and his friends. This was time of the romantics, and George IV had been a lover of art. Samuel Taylor Coleridge commented “Examine nature accurately, but write from recollection, and trust more to the imagination than the memory”.[1]  The Regent certainly used his imagination in completing this particular palace. No one could feel differently.
            Feelings in association with homes and architecture had been at its infancy when the Royal Pavilion was reaching completion. During this time studies began in regards to architecture effecting human behavior. Interiors were just beginning to be considered that could sooth “a citizens overwrought nerves”.[2]  They could also show the influence of the owner’s individualism, status, and personal feelings and fulfillment.[3] George IV’s personality can certainly be seen given these beliefs. He had wanted to be considered different than his father. He had a sense of humor and loved art. He was the next in line to the English Throne, and he had been a romantic.
            Romance had certainly been in the air of the Hindoo Palace. George loved his food and became obese by the age of thirty.[4] The palace had the most up to date kitchen in Britain by 1822.[5] He also loved gambling and betting on the horses. The Pavilion held a stable larger than other mansions.[6] And, of course, George IV loved women. He used the exotic building as a stage for his love affair with “Mrs. F.”, as well as any other woman of the moment.

                                                              Mrs. Maria Fitzherbert
                                                        http://www.kathryncaskie.com/books/earl-between.htm
Orientalism had consistently been associated with the erotic.[1] And, the Regent certainly continued with his licentious affairs within the Palace. Sexual titillation had certainly occurred in groups that frequented the Regent’s social sphere during other gatherings.[2] The idea of it happening here could not be too far off. While none of the images appear pornographic that are viewable to the public, there most probably would have been some around due to the nature of the building, and the sexual appetite of the man.
What was viewable was the Chinese bridal procession mural in the banqueting room. Could this have been a nod to his wedding to Maria Fitzherbert? Would she have felt love, adoration, and maybe even a little amorous toward the Regent whenever she gazed upon this scene? His marriage had been an open secret. The Regent had even cohabitated with her at the Royal Pavilion.[3]
            The Regent had been known to be fickle. He had been fickle with his women. He had also been fickle with his lodgings. He tore down one of his favorites, Carlton House in 1826.[4] The Royal Pavilion also felt his inconstancy. After his coronation, the now King George IV, never returned to stay at his foreign style palace.[5] He had to put on a front for the country now. He could no longer live a foreign life, it had to belong to Britain. The Pavilion had lost its romantic sheen.
            Backgrounds of oriental romance set the scene for George IV’s amours. The Hindoo Palace was a place that inspired awe for the beau monde that followed the Regent to Brighton. This had been his private place where he could show privilege to his friends, and those who expected only the best from the lover of opulence. Orientalist decoration abounded without any specific country or location. It had been the ideal of the exotic that enticed the Prince into converting his modest house into an Oriental Pavilion. George IV loved everything about this place before he became King. Love had certainly been in the air, at least for a time.
           
Bibliography:

Bergdoll, Barry. European Architecture, 1750-1890. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Brighton Royal Pavilion – Great Attractions (Brighton, United Kingdom). Uploaded by
geobeats. December 23, 2010. Youtube video. http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Sse9qdJvgWg. (accessed January 20, 2012).

Bury, Charlotte Campbell, ed. The Court of England under George IV.: Founded on a Diary
Interspersed with Letters Written by Queen Caroline and Various Other Distinguished Persons. London: Hastings House, 1896. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GLoBAAAAYAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=hindoo+palace+george+iv&ots=ljmHwzHfJk&sig=LzRdhQoYx4V_sahn39or9xRaBTQ#v=onepage&q=pavilion&f=false. (accessed January 22, 2012).

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. In Taylor Speer-Sims, “Romantic Poetry Influences the Estates of
the British Aristocrats”, Research Paper, APUS, August 25, 2011.

Cruickshank, Dan. London’s Sinful Secret: The Bawdy History and Very Public Passions of
London’s Georgian Age. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.

Hunt, Lynn et all. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures Volume I: To 1740 A
Concise History. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

Jenkins, Simon. England’s Thousand Best Houses. New York: Penguin Group, 2004.

Johnson, Robert. Histories and Controversies: British Imperialism. New York: Palgrave
MacMillan, 2003.

Kelly, Ian. Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style. New York: Free Press, 2006.

“Obituary” in “King George IV (1820-1830)” Royal Family History. N.d.
http://www.britroyals.com/kings.asp?id=george4. (accessed January 20, 2012).

Royal Pavilion, Museums & Libraries. Brighton & Hove City council. N.d.
http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/RoyalPavilion/Pages/home.aspx. (accessed January 2, 2012).

Rutherford, Jessica. The Royal Pavilion: The Palace of George IV. Brighton: Brighton
& Hove, 1994.

Speer-Sims, Taylor. “Politics of Versailles” Research Paper, APUS, September 14, 2011.
----  “An Italianate Called Longwood”, Research Paper, APUS, August 25, 2011.

Sweetman, John. The Oriental Obsession: Islamic Inspiration in British and American Art
and Architecture 1500-1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam031/86028383.pdf. (accessed January 20, 2012).

Wellesley, Arthur. In “George IV” Britannia.com. n.d. http://www.britannia.com/history/
monarchs/mon56.html. (accessed January 12, 2012).
     
Originally written for class at American Military University.


[1] John Sweetman,  The Oriental Obsession: Islamic Inspiration in British and American Art
and Architecture 1500-1920. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), Introduction. http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/samples/cam031/86028383.pdf. (accessed January 20, 2012).
[2] Cruickshank, Dan. London’s Sinful Secret: The Bawdy History and Very Public Passions of
London’s Georgian Age. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009), 391.
[3] Kelley, 176.
[4] Kelley, 178.
[5] Royal Pavilion, Museums & Libraries


[1] Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in Taylor Speer-Sims, “Romantic Poetry Influences the Estates of the British Aristocrats”, Research Paper, (APUS, August 25, 2011), 2.
[2] Bergdoll, 276-277.
[3] Ibid, 277.
[4] Wellesley.
[5] Bergdoll, 14-15.
[6] Ibid, 3.



[1] Taylor Speer-Sims, “Politics of Versailles”, Research Paper, (APUS, September 14, 2011), 8.
[2] Kelley, 178.
[3] Robert Johnson,  Histories and Controversies: British Imperialism. (New York: Palgrave
MacMillan, 2003), 11.
[4] Taylor Speer-Sims, “An Italianate Called Longwood”, Research Paper, (APUS, August 25, 2011), 3.




[1] Ibid, 8-9.
[2] Ibid, 32.


[1] Rutherford, 5.

[2] Bonnie Speer, personal interview with author.

[3] Kelly, 175.

[4] Rutherford, 12.


[1] Ibid.
[2] Ibid, 3-4.
[3] Brighton Royal Pavilion – Great Attractions (Brighton, United Kingdom). Uploaded by
geobeats. December 23, 2010. Youtube video. http://www.youtube.com/
watch?v=Sse9qdJvgWg. (accessed January 20, 2012).
[4] Jenkins, Simon. England’s Thousand Best Houses. (New York: Penguin Group, 2004), 796-799.
[5] Brighton Royal Pavilion – Great Attractions
[6] Hunt, Lynn et all. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures Volume I: To 1740 A
Concise History. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2003), 587.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Bergdoll, Barry. European Architecture, 1750-1890. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 275.
[9] Bonnie Speer, personal communication with author, January 22, 2012.


[1] Royal Pavilion, Museums & Libraries. Brighton & Hove City council. N.d.
http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/RoyalPavilion/Pages/home.aspx. (accessed January 2, 2012).
[2] Ibid.



[1] Ian Kelly, Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Man of Style. (New York: Free Press, 2006), 179-190.


[2] Lady Charlotte Campbell Bury, ed. The Court of England under George IV.: Founded on a Diary Interspersed with Letters Written by Queen Caroline and Various Other Distinguished Persons. (London: Hastings House, 1896), 300. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GLoBAAAAYAAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=hindoo+palace+george+iv&ots=ljmHwzHfJk&sig=LzRdhQoYx4V_sahn39or9xRaBTQ#v=onepage&q=pavilion&f=false. (accessed January 22, 2012).


[3] Wellesley.


[4] Rutherford, Jessica. The Royal Pavilion: The Palace of George IV. (Brighton: Brighton

& Hove, 1994), 2.


[5] Ibid.


[6] Ibid, 3.
                          
                                    


[1] “Obituary” in “King George IV (1820-1830)” Royal Family History. N.d.
http://www.britroyals.com/kings.asp?id=george4. (accessed January 20, 2012).; Arthur Wellesley, In “George IV” Britannia.com. n.d. http://www.britannia.com/history/
monarchs/mon56.html. (accessed January 12, 2012).
[2] Ibid.

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