Exhibition | Jane Austen by the Sea

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 20, 2017
William Heath, Military Dandies or Heroes of 1818, published by M. Cleary.

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Opening this summer in Brighton:

Jane Austen by the Sea
Royal Pavilion, Brighton, 17 June 2017 — 8 January 2018

Curated by Alexandra Loske

A new display at the Royal Pavilion will explore Jane Austen’s relationship with coastal towns and life in Brighton during her time, to mark the bicentenary of her death. The display will reassess Austen’s relationship with the town in the light of a long-term misunderstanding, arising from a hand-written letter of 8 January 1799. Curator Dr Alexandra Loske said, “For many years, Austen has been quoted as having written: ‘I assure you that I dread the idea of going to Brighton as much as you can do..’, but her sentence actually referred to Bookham, a village in Surrey, rather than Brighton. We now know that Austen may not have felt as negatively about the town as has been thought.”

Jane Austen by the Sea will look at the seaside context of Austen’s plots and paint a picture of the leading resort of Brighton in the early 1800s, when it was a fashionable ‘watering place’ featured in novels like Pride and Prejudice. George IV, who created the Royal Pavilion and spent long periods living there when he was Prince Regent, was a high-profile fan of Austen’s—and although she seemed not to approve of his lifestyle she was encouraged to dedicate Emma to him in 1815.

Highlights include
• The King’s personal, specially-bound copy of Emma—on display at the Royal Pavilion for the first time (generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection)
• A mourning brooch containing a lock of Jane Austen’s hair
• The manuscript of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon, set in a seaside town in Sussex
• Examples of Regency costume and accessories, including a wedding dress that has never been on show before and a dress in the style of the ‘Brighton Walking Dress’ featured in a London fashion magazine in 1817
• Letters from Jane Austen to the Prince Regent’s librarian, James Stanier Clarke
• One of Jane Austen’s music books
• Prints, paintings, and caricatures of the resorts and fashions popular with seaside visitors
• Rare images of Brighton as it looked in Jane Austen’s lifetime

Jane Austen by the Sea will form part of our Regency Season in 2017, which will also include the exhibition Constable and Brighton and the display Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate (both at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery).


Exhibition | Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on March 20, 2017

Press release for the exhibition:

Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, 14 March — 3 September 2017

Curated by Alexandra Loske

Colin Jones, Digital model of the Royal Pavilion Estate as it is believed to have looked in 1832, with lost servants’ dormitory in the foreground.

A new display at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery will showcase rarely-seen views of the Royal Pavilion Estate dating back to the 1760s, as well as cutting-edge digital reconstructions of how it might have looked. According to curator Dr Alexandra Loske,“This display will survey the Royal Pavilion and its estate as it was and might have been, featuring rarely-seen views alongside discarded designs and recent digital re-creations. It will give visitors an opportunity to see unfamiliar, unusual and lost images, sourced almost exclusively from the city’s own archives and collections.”

Illustrations from the earliest printed books about the estate will sit beside unrealised designs, early municipal maps, and 20th-century plans and images. Highlights include
• Images of the Estate before the Royal Pavilion was built, and early designs commissioned by the Prince Regent by Henry Holland (1786, Marine Pavilion).
• Unrealised designs by Humphry Repton (published 1808), who George, as Prince of Wales, appointed to apply his romantic style to the Marine Pavilion and its grounds. When his beautiful, hand-produced ‘Red Book’ of designs failed to win him a commission, he had the book published for commercial sale, with fewer than 250 copies thought to have been printed. Delicate ‘overlays’ pasted onto the images provided before-and-after perspectives, with Repton’s ambitious proposals including a glass corridor around the entire East Lawn, an aviary, a pheasantry, a water feature and a clearer view of the sea.
• Lost designs and aquatints giving a lively impression of the Royal Pavilion Estate in the 18th and 19th century, sourced from the city’s collection and early popular guide books.
• Depictions of fashionable Georgian society in and around the Estate, in rare watercolours, prints and drawings from the city’s collection.
• 1830s drawings by Joseph Henry Good, who was commissioned by William IV to survey the Royal Pavilion Estate and drew up around 200 architectural plans. Detailed plans of now-lost servants’ quarters and the area around the South Gate will give a new perspective on everyday life for staff on the estate.
• Detailed digital 3D images of lost areas and structures of the Royal Pavilion Estate by RPM volunteer Colin Jones, largely based on the Good plans (will also be available online).
• Photography of the Estate’s use in the 20th century, including images from World War II and never-before-seen inter-war designs for the Royal Pavilion Garden.
• Real and imagined views of the Estate in popular culture, including illustrations and cover designs for books like Malcolm Saville’s children’s adventure story The Long Passage (1954) and Georgette Heyer’s popular novel Regency Buck (1935).

Alexandra Loske has sourced almost all the display’s inclusions from the city of Brighton & Hove’s own archives and collections. She said, “We’re keen to really make use of the city’s incredible collections and keep making new items available for the public to see.”

The display will accompany RPM’s project to digitise Humphry Repton’s Designs for the Pavilion at Brighton (1808) and John Nash’s The Royal Pavilion at Brighton (1826) and to publish the books online. It also comes as RPM works with Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Brighton & Hove City Council to realise a future vision for the Royal Pavilion Estate, starting with a major refurbishment of Brighton Dome’s Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre. Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate will form part of Royal Pavilion & Museums’ Regency Summer season in 2017, which will also include Jane Austen by the Sea at the Royal Pavilion and Constable and Brighton at Brighton Museum.


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