Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Prints and Drawings Gallery
2 April – 29 Sept 2019
A new display at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery will celebrate rarely-seen images of the Royal Stables and Riding House and George IV’s love for all things equestrian.
The show tells the story of the king’s passion for horses and his creation of magnificent new stables in what is now Brighton Dome.
George IV was a keen and able horseman, who admired the beauty and power of horses. He spent vast amounts of money on building and running stables and he owned one of the famous racehorses of the time, Orville, who won the Brighton Cup in 1805.
The stables, created between 1803 and 1808, was one of most ambitious and largest buildings of its kind in England, with room for at least 44 horses, as well as accommodation for stable staff and an adjoining Riding House used for exercising and training.
Coinciding with the restoration of the Corn Exchange (the former Riding House) the exhibition will give visitors an opportunity to see unusual and rare images, sourced exclusively from the city’s own archives and collections.
Some of the highlights are a set of images of the interior of the stables in the 1820s, with delicately drawn horses and stable staff, together with colourful views of the interiors during World War I when the stables were used as part of a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers.
Other exhibits are pictures of George IV and Queen Victoria shown with splendidly adorned horses outside the Royal Pavilion, as well as merciless caricatures poking fun at George.
A highlight of the display will be the magnificent silver-gilt Brighton Cup decorated with the Prince of Wales’s feathers and an image of the Marine Pavilion, commissioned by George in 1805 for the winner of the Brighton Races.
His own horse Orville unexpectedly won the race, and George gave the cup to Chris Wilson, who had sold him Orville a few months earlier. A letter from George to Wilson, written at the Pavilion, will be displayed with the cup.
Notes for editors
About Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, part of Brighton & Hove City Council, is one of Britain’s oldest public museums. Located in the Royal Pavilion Estate at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter, its collections showcase arts and crafts from across the world and history from Ancient Egypt to modern Brighton.
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