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In the early 1840s, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert authorized the construction of a small summer house in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. This chapter surveys how that pavilion became the unlikely location for an artistic “experiment” in which the medium of fresco painting became associated with British nationalism. It tracks Prince Albert’s careful planning, his relationship with Ludwig Grüner as his adviser, and the thoroughgoing German influences which ironically defined the pavilion’s aspirations to express British artistic talents and aesthetic identity. The chapter concludes by exploring Queen Victoria’s own reactions to the project as well as the building’s ultimate fate.
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Peel apparently spent time in Bavaria in 1838 and was a friend of Eastlake who himself displayed an interest in German art (see Davis 213–14).
The German influence also extended to some of the artists working on the frescoes in the pavilion. For example, Eastlake was fascinated by German art and lived for a few years in Italy where he became influenced by the Nazarenes and their work. He also studied German, spent time in Germany, and wrote about German art for John Scott’s London Magazine.
Indeed, Grüner’s other volumes are replete with engravings of various works, many of which recall the art found in the garden pavilion book. In works such as Descriptions of the Plates of Fresco Decorations and Stuccoes of Churches and Palaces In Italy ( 1844), Fresco Decorations and Stuccoes of Churches and Palaces, In Italy ( 1844), The Terra-Cotta Architecture of North Italy, XIIth – XVth centuries ( 1867), and Specimens of Ornamental Art ( 1850), Grüner proved his facility with the art of engraving and his expertise as an art critic. Boeckmann explains that the “engravings and lithographs” for The Decorations of the Garden-Pavilion were not undertaken by Grüner but rather by other artists whom he directed. As Boeckmann records: “This was due to the fact that Grüner suffered a serious impairment of his sight and had to refrain from engraving for some time” (17–18). In Grüner’s other works, he is listed as the primary author on the frontispieces. Furthermore, the frontispiece to Descriptions of the Plates of Fresco Decorations and Stuccoes of Churches and Palaces in Italy identifies Grüner as “Author of ‘Specimens of Ornamental Art,’ ‘Her Majesty’s pavilion at Buckingham Palace Gardens,’ ‘The Ghigi Chapel,’ and of other Illustrative Works.” The engravings and illustrations in all of Grüner’s works evoke drawings in The Decorations of the Garden-Pavilion as Grüner’s style is easily recognized in the illustrations in these other texts.
Grüner was known as Lewis in England.
A newspaper clipping attached to this page corroborates that the 46 plates were “coloured by hand.”
French for “jewel.” Victoria documented too that Sir William Ross characterized the pavilion as a “complete ‘bijou’” and was in “extasies over it” (RA VIC/MAIN/QVJ (W) 8 April 1845 [Princess Beatrice’s copies]).
Italian for “among such great glory”
The “old Italian” in Skerrett’s description was probably Agostino Aglio (1777–1857) whom Victoria mentioned in her journal entry of 29 December 1843 as being responsible for the encaustic work in the pavilion. While the influence of German art was seen in the frescoes, Aglio’s contribution to the pavilion reflected the concurrent British interest in Italian art. Italian born and trained, Aglio moved to England in 1803 where his work included designing the landscape for the gardens at Edwardes Square, Kensington, and decorating the interior of the Manchester Town Hall and the Royal Olympic Theater in London ( http://www.guise.me.uk/aglio/aasenior/index.htm). In his autobiography, Aglio referenced his work on the pavilion: “of my work at the pavilion it is well known and I have only to acknowledge the [illeg.] of the great artists employed for the Frescoes, these who desire my attendance and directory of their works, to which was added the Pompeian Room, committed to me by the special command of their gracious Majesty, and The Prince Consort at the completion of which I was highly honoured by their joint approbation which was followed by the most distinguished favour of a coloured copy of the private publication of the work, of the Pavilion” ( http://www.guise.me.uk/aglio/aasenior/biographies/autobiography.htm).
On 6 May 1875, Victoria again visited the pavilion (which, she observed, had been cleaned) and then, on 11 May 1880, when she took tea in the pavilion with Princess Beatrice.
Zurück zum Zitat “Echoes of the Week.” Leeds Mercury. 17 Oct. 1890. 19th Century British Library Newspapers. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. “Echoes of the Week.” Leeds Mercury. 17 Oct. 1890. 19th Century British Library Newspapers. Web. 2 Apr. 2014.
Zurück zum Zitat Grüner, Ludwig. Descriptions of the Plates of Fresco Decorations and Stuccoes of Churches and Palaces in Italy During the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. London: McLean, 1844. Print. Grüner, Ludwig. Descriptions of the Plates of Fresco Decorations and Stuccoes of Churches and Palaces in Italy During the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. London: McLean, 1844. Print.
Zurück zum Zitat ———. Specimens of Ornamental Art. London: T. McLean, 1850. Print. ———. Specimens of Ornamental Art. London: T. McLean, 1850. Print.
Zurück zum Zitat ———. The Terra-Cotta Architecture of North Italy, XIIth – XVth centuries. London: J. Murray, 1867. Print. ———. The Terra-Cotta Architecture of North Italy, XIIth – XVth centuries. London: J. Murray, 1867. Print.
Zurück zum Zitat Stephen, Leslie. “Dyce.” Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1888. 16: 280. Web. Stephen, Leslie. “Dyce.” Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1888. 16: 280. Web.
- “The Little Hot-Bed of Fresco Painting”: Queen Victoria’s Garden Pavilion at Buckingham Palace
Sharon L. Joffe
- Palgrave Macmillan US