Claremont House mausoleum
Image : Design for the conversion of the Gothic summer house into a mausoleum. © RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections
The premature death of Princess Charlotte in 1817 after giving birth to a stillborn son plunged the country into mourning, as well as putting into motion a chain of events that would lead to the birth of Queen Victoria two years later. J. B. Papworth had already designed a Gothic summer house for the royal couple at Claremont but on the event of the princess’s death was commissioned by Prince Leopold to convert it into a memorial for his wife.
This beautifully rendered design for a pedestal is typical of Papworth’s accomplished artistry; the Gothic detailing, however, is intriguing in that it demonstrates a far more convincing grasp of the style than is evident in other projects, leading to speculation that it was in fact supplied by A. C. Pugin.
Article by Vicky Wilson, Assistant Curator, British Architectural Library, RIBA