Friday, 2 March 2018

Prinny's Dreams (Prince Regent)

It was 1786 when the Prince of Wales (later Regent) gained the lease on Thomas Read Kemp's farmhouse on the site of the present Royal Pavilion. 

By 1802, while in partnership with John Nash, Humphry Repton (1752-1818) was hired to oversee the landscaping work in the Pavilion grounds. In those earlier days the Prince acquired/purchased the land which formed the Royal Pavilion estate. Thus Repton was invited to advise on the site in November 1805. Whilst his designs for a garden surrounding the Pavillion at Brighton had illustrated proposals both (Indian-style pavilion), neither was executed. But by 1808 the Royal Stables and the Riding School (present day Dome and Corn Exchange) were completed. 

John Nash went on to build the Royal Pavilion in its present form between 1815 and 1822, the gardens too, though the original gardens were redesigned in the 1900s.

Ostentatious is probably the best word to  define the architecture of Brighton Pavilion - a combination of towering domes, minarets, and two eminent roof structures depicting tented pavilions. the latter oft seen within mediaeval English etchings in reference to battles and jousting tournaments. Thus the Pavilion has a decidedly Middle and Far Eastern influence, namely Turkish, Persian (Iran), so not altogether Indian as such in design, but Islamic.      

Map of  Bright Helmstone - latterly known as Brighton. 

In the blue ring box is the location of The Pavilion Mews (Stable Block) - not only commodious and able to house 60 horses, it was a glamorous building in its own right. 

In the red ringed oval is the Pavilion itself.

The Pavilion Mews and Riding School in its original state. 

Again we can see a Moorish influence, but it's interesting to note, ladies fashions at this time were also influenced by an idealistic Eastern romanticism. Thus ladies wore turbans decorated with jewels and feathers, and even wore Banyans as over garments for day wear, whilst gentlemen wore Banyans as bedchamber robes, though nothing new in that for Banyans were popular long before.  

As with all Prinny's grand dreams he set out to refurbish and extend what we now recognise as 
Buckingham Palace

One can see the architectural changes in comparison to the original Buck House - below. 

Buckingham House 1773 - the home of the Duke of Buckingham, a notorious rake amidst many within the court of Charles II. 

The saddest aspect of Prinny's dreams was the fact he never lived in the newly refurbished Buck House, nor did he enjoy the fruits of the extension of the original house that became  his personal Brighton Pavilion. When George became king in 1820, increased responsibilities and ill-health beset him. 

Albeit the interior of the Royal Pavilion was finally finished in 1823 he made only two further visits (in 1824 and 1827).

The noise and building construction had driven him distant to others houses, namely that of courtiers and friends, and houses of his mistresses. All the while he despaired and fretted over the length of time the two builds were under construction, and as months ticked into years he fell to morose countenance. 

Contrary to many beliefs, Prinny hosted far more parties in his original Brighton Farmhouse - more than he ever did within the Pavilion. 

Barely a few months, all told, did he enjoy parading about within the completed pavilion, for he was becoming so grossly obese and unwell, he as good as retired into obscurity until his demise, and would only receive ministers of state, his mistress, and close friends.   

26 June 1830, Prinny died at Windsor Castle, Windsor. 

His favourite tipple was Cherry Brandy. 

Sadly he despised his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, and as good as banished himself from Carlton House. 

His living issue was that of Princess Charlotte. 

Note the design of the Taj Mahal - the jewel of Muslim Architecture in India.