"Last night the Prince Regent gave a ball and supper to a numerous and splendid party. By the heavy and incessant rain which fell during the day, considerable damage was done to the tents erected on the lawn at Carlton-house, and it was feared they could not be used; however, the preparations went on. The entrance to these temporary erections was from the supper-rooms, along a temporary passage about sixty yards in length, boarded, and covered in with canvas, lined with green glaze cotton, decorated with artificial flowers, and the whole illuminated by chandeliers at proper intervals. The tents were arranged on each side of this passage or promenade, and their entrances were hung with curtains, festooned with artificial flowers. The tents were eighteen in all, and supper was to be laid in each of them for twenty-eight persons. At the extremity of the promenade was the Prince Regent's tent, which was lined with light printed cotton, and the centre pole ornamented with artificial flowers.That is over five hundred sitting down to dinner. The organization boggles the mind. Who was the overseer of all the details? Every aspect must have had a 'sub-contractor'. Secretaries for the invitations, and the menus. Designers to organize the set-up and the decorations. Tradesmen to execute the designs. And the suppliers--of cotton, canvas, tents, artificial flowers, etc. All wondering if they would be paid, and when!
About nine o'clock, the Queen and the Princesses proceeded in their chairs from the Queen's Palace to Carlton-house. The company began to arrive after this in great numbers."
And then there was the meal--cooks, under-cooks, confectioners, right down to the scullery maids. I wonder how many hours it took to wash the dishes after such an event, and who over-saw the work. And what about the major-domo, the butler, the foot-men, and the maids who made the company comfortable and saw to their every need. It needed a master-mind to orchestrate all these details.
|'A Squeeze at Carlton House'|
"The full band of the Guards, in their state-uniforms, play in the court-yard various martial airs."
"The ball-room floors were chalked in beauitufl arabesque devices."
"The hall was adorned with a variety of shrubs, and an additional number of large lanthorns and patent-lamps."
"The gold-room shone with unequalled spelndour; the ceiling and walls here are painted delicately, on a ground of gold."
|The Golden Drawing Room at Carlton House|
"Every praise is due to the superior officers of the household;--also to several noblemen, military officers, and other friends in the confidence of H.R.H. for all possible accommodation..."Even the military reviews held by the Prince Regent showed a similar extravagance and must have required the use of an 'army' of subordinates to design and orchestrate the business. One such event was held on Wimbledon Common, June 10, 1811. There were 20,000 troops on parade, and it was estimated "200,000 persons on the ground". Much of the organization would have been down to the military for this event, but
"The Regent was also attended by a vast retinue, and was mounted on a beautiful grey charger, richly caparisoned; he was dressed in a full suit of General's regimentals, with the order of the garter, and a diamond star."
|This is a Hyde Park review of 1814|
'Til next time,
Sources: The Literary Panorama and Annual Register 1811 The Edinburgh Annual Register 1813
both free downloads from Google Books