The Moving Panorama or Spring Garden Rout
The "rout" (or boisterous throng) mentioned in the title of this hand-coloured etching, stretches from the left- to the right-hand side of the page, filling the lower-half of the design. It is composed of a multi-coloured, fashionably dressed crowd of male and female, young and old, customers of the panorama, drawn from a variety of social classes and character types. Their excitement and the clamour created by their voices are suggested by the voice-bubbles rising above them, which cover nearly a third of the upper-half of the image.
Most members of this motley crowd are standing on the pavement outside N° 5 Spring Gardens, the site of Wrigley's Great Room, famous in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries for the popular exhibitions it housed. A few have pushed their way into the vestibule, where their path is blocked by a man who informs "those disappointed of places" that the show will be repeated at "1, 2 and 3 [in the afternoon] and 7, 8 and 9 in the Evening." Some of those already inside the building can be seen through a half-opened window, but there seem to be many more outside. The couple nearest the window (along with another couple to the left) have turned away from the panoramic spectacle to look into each other's eyes—a suggestion perhaps that like panorama-queuing, panorama-viewing could be the occasion for unregulated social events.
When this image was published in June 1823, two moving-panoramas were being exhibited at Spring Gardens. In the Lower Great Room patrons could view "A Fashionable Tour for One Hundred Miles Along the Banks of the Clyde," which included "Views of . . . Lanark, Glasgow, Greenock, and the Lofty Ben Lomond"; while in the Great Room, "Marshall's Grand Historical peristrephic Panorama of the Ceremony of the Coronation, the Coronation Procession, And the Banquet of His Most Gracious Majesty King George the Fourth" was on display (Anonymous1). Although advertisements for both can be discovered in the image we are viewing—the first on a board at the back of the vestibule, immediately behind the hanging lantern; the second on a poster placed immediately to the right of the doorway—the crowd is interested only in the second.
According to advertisements published by the Marshalls in The Times, the "Panorama of the Ceremony of the Coronation" was "painted on 10,000 square feet of canvas"; displayed "nearly 100,000 figures," more than 500 of which were life-size; and was unfolded to the tune of a "full military band, assisted by a finger organ and trumpets." The illusion it produced was so "impressive and striking," the Marshalls claimed, that spectators would be "led to believe themselves present at the different splendid ceremonies it represents" (Anonymous). These claims are echoed rather than doubted by those in the "Spring Garden Rout" who claim already to have been inside: "[The King] is positively moving like life, and as large too"; "I really thought myself in the Abbey"; "it beats all the Panoramas I ever saw"; and so on. Other remarks evoke the social and sexual frisson of the occasion: "Egad this seems a delightfull lounge it attracts the fair Sex, I shall come frequently!!"; "Give me your hand Ma'm, I like to assist a Lady to a good thing!"; " I think all the world mus come three times over."
Each time a moving-panorama show begins, the real world is eclipsed and, in its place, scenes appear which, despite the absence of their apparent objects, are experienced as if they were real. Miming these contrary events, albeit in a different key, in "The Moving Panorama—or Spring Garden Rout" nature can be seen only on the margins of the design, in the small flowerpots found in the top left-hand corner, and in the blinkered horses glimpsed in the lower right-hand corner. And the panorama's phantom reality is echoed by the public house found immediately beneath the half-open window of the Great Room, which is offering "Burton's Ale" and "Spirits" rather than a "Tour" and "Coronation." In this case, though, it is the second rather than the first pair that have intoxicated the crowd, leaving the pub's empty interior to represent the fate of all panoramic entertainments when they are no longer the latest thing.
Courtesy of The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University. Copyright, 2009.
The print was probably displayed at S. W. Fores' printshop at 41 Piccadilly, on the corner of Sackville St.
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Inscription, lower right, in script: London Pubd June 1823 by S.W.Fores 41 Piccadilly
The print-publishing and print-exhibiting activities of Samuel Fores.
Exhibition in June 1823, in the Great Room, Spring Gardens, of "A Fashionable Tour for One Hundred Miles Along the Banks of the Clyde" and "Marshall's Grand Historical peristrephic Panorama of the Ceremony of the Coronation, the Coronation Procession, And the Banquet of His Most Gracious Majesty King George the Fourth."
Coronation of George IV on 19 July 1821 in Westminster Abbey, followed by a grand Banquet in Westminster Hall. For details of the pageant, see Cumming 39-50, Girouard 26-7, and Toone 558-73.
Charles Williams (fl. 1797-1830)—"prolific etcher of satires of his own or others' designs" (George); creator of "The Moving Panorama or Spring Garden Rout."
Samuel William Fores (c. 1761-1838)—radical publisher and print seller, who specialized "in hand-coloured, singly-issued satirical prints or caricatures" (Turner; McCalman).
George IV (1762-1830)—his extravagant coronation ceremony was held on 19 July 1821 in Westminster Abbey, followed by a lavish Coronation Banquet in Westminster Hall.
Robert Barker (1739-1806)—inventor of the panorama.
Messrs Marshall—a family of entrepreneurs closely associated with the development of the moving-panorama in Britain.
Great Room, Spring Gardens—in the late-eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries this was one of the most popular venues for fashionable exhibitions.
The Print Shop belonging to S. W. Fores at 41 Piccadilly, on the corner of Sackville Street.
In the early nineteenth century, the term "moving panorama" could refer to an optical entertainment (both the apparatus itself and the sequence of virtual prospects that it conjured); an unfolding view of an actual scene, whether of landscape, pageant, or streetscape; and "a series of images passing before the mind's eye" (OED). Each of these "types" of moving-panorama are directly or indirectly represented in the design we are considering: the first category is represented by the "Panorama of the . . . Coronation" and "Tour . . . Along the Banks of the Clyde"; the crowd outside the Great Room at N° 5 Spring Gardens and the (actual) Coronation of George IV belong to the second; and the ales and "spirits" sold by the public house allude to a giddy version of the third. This list introduces a fourth type of moving-panorama represented by the design—one that provides a comprehensive survey of a subject. As this catalogue of types suggests, although the primary subject of "The Moving Panorama—or Spring Garden Rout" is the public-reception of Marshall's "Ceremony of the Coronation," it is also concerned with the moving-panorama itself, and with the popular visual-culture of which it is part.
Rather than remaining content with these subjects, the engraving's visual field draws our attention from an exterior visible-realm associated with "the people" to an interior hidden-space centred on the figure of George IV, towards which they are being drawn. The journey from outside to inside ought therefore to take us from surface to substance; but in this case, the Sovereign is Himself no more than an appearance. Further, even if we turn from the virtual to the actual coronation of the King, we find only another moving surface—a "fancy-dress pageant on the theme of the Faerie Queene" according to Girouard (27)—and a poor double of what a real King is supposed to be. The Spring Garden crowd, like the real-George's loyal subjects, have been drawn into an order defined by fashion, the market place, and a corrupt monarchy.
The significance of this engraving derives from its multi-faceted exploration of the impact of moving panoramas on their audiences, the social interactions they promoted, and the cultural and political environment of which they were part. By exploring the exchanges between new optical-technologies, the virtual realities produced by popular entertainments, and the apparent realities that govern social relations, the image provides a revealing graphic-satire of a key phase in the history of the panorama, moving pictures, and the emergence of modern forms of virtual reality. At the same time, this multi-faceted image also allows us to glimpse some of the roles played by graphic satire in the third decade of the nineteenth century.
Like many graphic satires, this one is topical, comic, and serious at the same time. It presents in comic/ironic form a newsworthy event, which it uses as scaffold for a satirical portrait of contemporary culture and politics.
[Anonymous]. "Great Room. Spring-gardens—NOVELTY. MARSHALL's Grand Historical Peristrephic PANORAMA of the CEREMONY of the BANQUET . . ." [Advertisement]. The Times [London, England] 17 Mar. 1823: 1. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 30 Oct. 2013.
Comment, Bernard. The Panorama. London: Reaktion, 1999.
Cumming, Valerie. "Pantomime and Pageantry: The Coronation of George IV." London—World City 1800-1840. Ed. Celina Fox. New Haven and London: Yale University Press in association with The Museum of London, 1992.
Girouard, Mark. The Return to Camelot: Chivalry and the English Gentleman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1981.
Haywood, Ian. Romanticism and Caricature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Hyde, Ralph. Panoramania!: The Art and Entertainment of the ‘All-Embracing' View. London: Trefoil Publications in association with Barbican Art Gallery, 1988.
Hardcastle, Ephraim [William Henry Pyne], ed. Somerset House Gazette, and Literary Museum; or, Weekly Miscellany of Fine Arts, Antiquities, and Literary Chit Chat. 2 vols. London: W. Wetton, 1824.
Plunkett, John. "Moving Panoramas c 1800 to 1840: The Spaces of Nineteenth-Century Picture-Going," Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century 17 (2013) [http://19.bbk.ac.uk/index.php/19/article/viewFile/674/934, accessed 27 Nov 2013].
Toone, William. "The Coronation," "Westminster Abbey," "The Procession," "Order of the Procession," "The King," "The Banquet." A Chronological Record, of the remarkable public events, ... during the Reigns of George the Third and Fourth, and His Present Majesty. London: Thomas Bennett, 1834. 558-73.
Turner, Simon. ‘Fores, Samuel William (bap. 1761, d. 1838)'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/63093, accessed 1 Nov 2013].
"The Moving Panorama—or Spring Garden Rout." London Pubd, June 1823 by S. W. Fores, 41 Piccadily.