Friday, May 23, 2014

Special Exhibition: "One Coach and Two Kingdoms: Hanover and Great Britain 1814-1837"

Photo: Historisches Museum Hannover
For some strange reason, the Guelph family does seem to have a special penchant for having things happen to them in years ending with '14. In 1714 the Hanoverian line of the family became Kings of Great Britain and Duke Anton Ulrich of Braunschweig-Wolfenb├╝ttel died, in 1814 they became Kings of Hanover and in 1914 Prince Ernst-August IV was christened. To mark all those occasions, there are no less than eight exhibitions happening in Lower Saxon this year.

Headlined "When the Royals Came From Hanover", five of those exhibitions are dedicated to the personal union between the Electorate and later Kingdom of Hanover as well as the Kingdom of Great Britain, which lasted for 123 years between 1714 and 1837 when Queen Victoria ascended to the British throne while her uncle Ernst-August II became the new King of Hanover.

While both the exhibitions at the Lower Saxon State Museum and the museum of the rebuilt Schloss Herrenhausen are titled "The Hanoverians on Britain’s Throne 1714-1837", the exhibition at the Wilhelm Busch Museum is called "Royal Theatre: British Caricatures from the Time of the Personal Union and the Present Day". There is also an exhibition titled "Ready for the Island: The House of Brunswick-L├╝neburg on the Path to London" currently being held at Schloss Celle in the small town by the same name north of Hanover. However, today's post will deal with the exhibition housed at the Historical Museum Hanover, "One Coach and Two Kingdoms: Hanover and Great Britain 1814-1837", which I visited earlier on.

The centre pieces of the exhibition are actually not one but four coaches, all of them on loan by Hereditary Prince Ernst-August of Hanover, though the 'State Coach No. 1" (pictured above) certainly does have the most prominent role. The coach was built for the future King George IV in 1783 and brought to Hanover in 1814 for a visit by the future monarch to the newly created German kingdom seven years later. There were three other coaches, a Berlin, a Phaeton and a third type I can't quite recall at the moment.
Photo: Historisches Museum Hannover
As the title suggests, this - in comparison - relatively small exhibition sheds some light on the years 1814, the year King George III of Great Britain also became King of Hanover, until 1837, the end of the personal union. Special focuses of the exhibition are King George IV, his extravagant lifestyle and the first visit of a Hanoverian monarch to Hanover after 66 years; the Napoleonic Wars, the toll they took on Hanover and the King's German Legion; and aspects of the cultural, political, economic and social lives in the Kingdom of Hanover during the first half of the 19th century as well as the advantages and disadvantages the personal union with Great Britain had for the Hanoverian kingdom.

Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take pictures at the exhibition though you actually can in the rest of the museum. I overheard one of the museum attendants telling another visitor that "the royal house" requested this prohibition. Though there might also have been a few exhibits loaned from the British Royal Collection, it sounded more like it was the Guelph family who, for whatever reason, didn't want to have their coaches photographed.

Anyway, even though you can't take pictures, the exhibition is still worth visiting. It's relatively small - not entirely sure but I think it took me about 20 or 30 minutes - but coaches in general are always impressive to look at and especially the state coach is no exception. Originally from the area around Hanover, I found the portrayal of the life of the people during the Napoleonic wars quite interesting as well. Admittedly though I did like the exhibition at the State Museum a bit better though more on that in an upcoming post!

Good to know:
All the five exhibitions will run until October 5th. The Historical Museum is open on Tuesdays from 10am to 7pm, on Wednesdays to Fridays between 10am and 5pm, and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10am to 6pm. There is a combi-ticket (16 euros for adults, 14 euros for students) available for all of the five exhibitions. If you wish to visit the "One Coach and Two Kingdoms: Hanover and Great Britain 1814-1837" exhibition only, it's 5 euros for adults and 4 for students. If you can, try to visit on a Friday as admission to the entire Historical Museum Hanover is always free that day. Don't forget to also visit the rest of the Historisches Museum as it features lots and lots of paintings and other things related to the Guelph family as well as the history of Hanover and Lower Saxony in general.

1 comment:

  1. George IV became king of Great Britain and Ireland on January 20,1820 on the death of George III.

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