The Music Room of the Royal Pavilion as a Hospital for Indian Soldiers

Image of the Month: October 2018

Oil painting showing rows of beds with Indian patients wearing hospital blues and turbans.
The Music Room of The Royal Pavilion as a Hospital for Indian Soldiers

 

As we head towards the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War, the story of the Royal Pavilion’s use as an Indian hospital is receiving fresh attention. This unique story has led to the Pavilion’s inclusion as a partner site for the Royal British Legion’s 2018 Poppy Appeal launch.

While the hospital was frequently photographed at the time, these images are all monochrome. This is whythree oil paintings by Charles Henry Harrison Burleigh provide such a striking record. This painting of the Music Room captures many details absent from the photographic record, from the variety of turbans worn by the patients to the gleam of the red linoleum floor.

Although the Pavilion would have been a gloomy and shabbier building than the restored palace visitors enjoy today, it would still have been an unusual spectacle of colour for a military hospital.

Burleigh painted two other paintings of the Royal Pavilion hospital. One painting of the central Dome ward can be seen alongside the Music Room painting in the Indian military hospital gallery in the Royal Pavilion. The other, a view of the Banqueting Room, is held by the Imperial War Museum.

You can download a hi-res version of this image from our Digital Media Bank.

Kevin Bacon, Digital Manager

 

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