Contemporary Responses

The pavilion attracted a great deal of interest from contemporaries and the press. But, tucked away in Buckingham Palace Gardens, it was not easy to go and see. Access to the space and its artworks was carefully controlled by Prince Albert and advisers. After months of rumors, early reports, and skepticism about the building, the Garden Pavilion was finally opened to an invited group of journalists from one to three in the afternoon on July 16, 1845. This carefully orchestrated press event attempted to regain control of the narrative of how the pavilion should be received. This event featured copies of what would become Anna Jameson's introductory essay to The decorations of the garden pavilion at Buckingham Palace. Notably, several of the reviews took their cues from Jameson's essay, even reprinting selections from her text. Others remained suspicious of the venture, the medium, the capacity of the artists involved, and even the royal patronage which funded the project, sometimes poorly.


Jameson, Anna. "Introduction" to The decorations of the garden-pavilion in the grounds of Buckingham palace. Ed. Ludwig Grüner. London: John Murray, 1846. 6-10. Offered in an earlier version to visiting journalists, Jameson's essay was a powerful historiographical force in how the pavilion would be interpreted. It subsequently appeared in Grüner's large folio volume, produced by the Queen's command.


[Chorley, Henry Fothergill.] "The Summer-House at Buckingham Palace." The Athenaeum, July 19, 1845: 719-20. The Atheneaum offered a much more critical view of the summer house project. What the author saw upon visiting was not the "ART-SHRINE" celebrated in the Literary Gazette, but a "profusion of minute and oddly-assembled ornaments."


"A Visit to the Garden Pavilion in the Grounds of Buckingham Palace." Chambers's Edinburgh Journal. Saturday, August 30, 1845. The Chambers's review responds directly to the Athenaeum's skepticism, praising instead the "fairy palace" of the pavilion and borrowing substantially from Jameson's narrative.


"The Queen's Pavilion." The Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences, &c. 26 July 1845: 499.


"The Garden Pavilion and Buckingham Palace." The Artizan 3 (1845): 182-83.


Thackeray, William M. "The Pimlico Pavilion." Originally published under the pseudonym of "The Mulligan (of Kilballymulligan)" in Punch 9 (1845): 66.


"The Chinese Summer-House, Buckingham Palace Gardens." Illustrated London News 4 (1844): 305.


"The Pavilion at Buckingham Palace." The London Times, 22 July, 1845.


"The Queen's Summer House, Buckingham Gardens." The Art-Union 4 (1844): 37-38.


"Buckingham Palace Pavilion." The Morning Chronicle, 21 July, 1843.