This is allotment of an advancing alternation of blog posts by acceptance of the V&A/RCA History of Architecture MA programme, composed to accompany the ‘Building the Royal Albert Hall’ display on actualization at the V&A in Room 127 (the access to the Architecture Gallery) until 7 January 2018. Here second-year apprentice Karen Morton discusses alteration fashions in the architecture of the clandestine boxes at the Hall.
As apparent in this archetypal for the autogenous architecture of the Hall, the boxes were abiding in tiers and formed a three dimensional apparent acute decoration. It appears that Scott had advised the tiers of boxes accomplished in lighter colouring with the ambition of creating a accomplishments to the affectation of ladies’ dresses. His angle assorted with those of Cole who adopted the box-fronts coloured amber and possibly with a adorning analysis which had the actualization of ‘marquetry’ (inlaid wood).
The architecture of the Royal Albert Hall was partially adjourned by clandestine investors affairs boxes for a hundred pounds each, with two of the aboriginal purchasers actuality Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. It is absorbing to agenda that although the exoteric of the boxes presented a compatible adorning analysis absitively by the committee, individuals were accustomed to adorn the box interiors in their own taste, possibly as an announcement of buying and reinforcing their adapter to the Royal Albert Hall, appropriately auspicious common visits. Choice of beautification could be interpreted in some boxes as a cosy addendum of the home and in others as a abode in which to escape to a adequate environment. The array of styles that ensued gave acceleration to some comment:
The Times 27 March 1871 reported:
The boxes are all carpeted with blooming carpeting and furnished with blood-soaked curtains…. But above this the beautification and capacity of anniversary box are larboard to the proprietor. Many of them are actuality afraid with different chintz, and the abundant patterns already displayed accord a array of analysis actualization which will, it may be hoped, be in abundant admeasurement buried by curtains and audience.
The Morning Post 30 March 1871:
In the boxes on anniversary ancillary of her Majesty’s, an exoteric actualization of blood-soaked hangings is all that can be seen, and a afterpiece analysis shows that the walls are not yet touched. The owners of these boxes are accustomed the widest breadth as commendations the autogenous beautification of their property, and, it is hoped, will exercise due artful aftertaste back they activate their decorations. Some of the hangings are of blooming red with a chintz lining, and the adequate aftertaste of one admirer or adult has led to one box actuality bedlam with blood-soaked satin.
These active descriptions advice us to brainstorm a account of the boxes as places of abundance that their owners would adore back visiting the Hall and in some cases a faculty of ‘home from home,’ whilst in others they assume to accept offered an about fantasy ambiance in which to adore the show.
The Royal boxes are declared in The Morning Post 30 March 1871:
In the Queen’s box decorations are chiefly of white and gold. On the panels of the aperture and the walls are abstracts and added paintings of an applique character, with plaques – additionally a affection of the backward apartment adherent to the use of the Queen and the Prince of Wales. The blood-soaked fringe, the gold patra, and the turquoise-blue decorations accomplish her Majesty’s box artistically adorable to the vision, whilst the blood-soaked accoutrement is in accord with all. The other Royal Box [belonging to the Prince of Wales] is somewhat analogously decorated. The fronts of the boxes actualization a blood-soaked edging, brindled with gold headed nails; the blind poles are gold-coloured, and in the orchestra the railings are of the aforementioned bright hue.
There is little aesthetic affirmation of the box interiors during the Victorian era, about allegory tastes in beautification during the twentieth aeon amid the 1950s and the 1980s can be apparent in Royal Albert Hall annal photographs and reflect key elements of British calm autogenous architecture of the times. In the aboriginal bisected of the twentieth aeon there was a alternative at all levels of association for an ambient of abundance acclaimed by a copious use of bolt as curtains, rugs, bendable accoutrement and bedlam upholstery. Photographs of the beforehand box interiors of the 1950s actualization a prevailing alternative for chintz upholstery and adequate armchairs, ambrosial of the ‘country cottage’ actualization which had connected in acceptance back the Arts and Crafts movement beforehand in the century, possibly as a abating adumbration of more abiding times above-mentioned to the two apple wars.
Thirty years after the appliance had a added automated and compatible effect, yet area upholstery was acclimated we can see a acknowledgment to the use of apparent red velvet, favoured back the Royal Albert Hall aboriginal opened. In the 1980s upholstery receded as a capital adorning affection and the adornment met the minimum requirements for comfort, with added use of adamantine materials, such as tubular steel, absorption a actualization with a added failing contour and aerial appearance.
With acknowledgment to Elizabeth Harper Annal Manager and her colleagues at The Royal Albert Hall Archives
To see what abroad V&A/RCA History of Architecture acceptance and alumni accept been up to, analysis our pages on the V&A and RCA websites and booty a attending at Un-Making Things, a student-run online belvedere for all things architecture history and actual culture.
Painting the Royal Albert Hall Red
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