[view artworks]

Kate Pragnell. The Chelsea Pageant (1908)

Kate Pragnell. The Chelsea Pageant (1908)

Kate Pragnell was born in Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1853. An artist and photographer, she lived in Chelsea at 39 Brompton Square.
In the early Twentieth Century, especially before the First World War, across England there was a passion for local, historical pageants. One of those that led the way was held in Chelsea in 1908.The Chelsea Historical Pageant was held in the Old Ranelagh Gardens, Royal Hospital. It took place between 25th June and 1st July 1908. Kate Pragnell was commissioned to photograph the event and produced limited numbers of postcards of each episode as well as portraits of most of the historical characters.

The pageant consisted of ten episodes:
1. The Romans cross the Thames at Chelsea in 53BC
2. The Synod of Chelsea in AD 786
3. May Day in Chelsea Fields 1500
4. Part 1. Sir Thomas More Visited by Henry VIII and his family; drawn by Holbein in 1547
4. Part 2. Sir Thomas More's Farewell to Chelsea in 1534
5. The Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey at the Manor House in 1547
6. Funeral of Anne of Cleves from Chelsea Manor House in 1557
7. Queen Elizabeth at Lord Howard of Effingham's Chelsea in 1592
7. Children's Masque of Spencers Faerie Queen. The Founding of Chelsea Hospital by Charles II 1681
9. The Institution of Doggett's Coat and Badge in 1714
10. Royal Fête at Ranelagh Gardens in 1749/ Minuet of Chelsea China Figures, 1749

The Pageant included over forty characters. These include:
The Blue Druid
Julius Caesar
Roman Officer
Herald Bard
British Women and Children
Offa, King of Mercia
Saxon Soldier
Papal Legate (Theophylact of Todi)
Saxon Noble
The Grey Nuns
Sir Reginald de Bray
Minstrel and Citizen
Galliarde Dancers
Dargason Dancers
Gypsy Dancer
King Henry VIII
Margaret Roper
Cecily (Cis) Heron & Bess More
William Patteson
Queen Katharine Parr
Princess Elizabeth
King Edward VI
Ling of Arms and a Mourner
Priest at the Funeral of Anne of Cleves
Queen Elizabeth
Lord Howard of Effingham
Edmund Spenser
Lady Mary Howard
St George, Una & Lion
Lucifera Queen of Pride
Chelsea Reach boy and girl
Old Soldier
Charles II
Nell Gwyn
Duchess of Cleveland
Duke of Buckingham
Sir Hans Sloane
The Duchess of Ormonde
Joseph Addison and Sir Richard Steele
Court Lady of the Period
Dr. Johnson
George II
A Masquerader
Chelsea China Figure
J. H. Irvine, Esq. - Master of the Chelsea Pageant

All images © the artist or copyright holder | Website © The Hyman Collection 2020