Vicky Wilson writes about the summer house that became a mausoleum for Princess Charlotte…

Claremont House

Conversion of the Gothic summer house into a mausoleum.
Claremont House, Surrey.
Designer: J. B. Papworth
© RIBA Library Drawing and Archives Collections

The premature death of Princess Charlotte in 1817 after giving birth to a stillborn son plunged the country into mourning, as well as putting into motion a chain of events that would lead to the birth of Queen Victoria two years later. J. B. Papworth had already designed a Gothic summer house for the royal couple at Claremont but on the event of the princess’s death was commissioned by Prince Leopold to convert it into a memorial for his wife. This beautifully rendered design for a pedestal is typical of Papworth’s accomplished artistry; the Gothic detailing, however, is intriguing in that it demonstrates a far more convincing grasp of the style than is evident in other projects, leading to speculation that it was in fact supplied by A. C. Pugin.

Vicky Wilson
Assistant Curator, British Architectural Library, RIBA

More images are available to view on RIBApix.

About Wilson Yau
I work for the British Architectural Library at the RIBA as part of a team to share news, images and information online about the activities of the Library and the fascinating items we have in our architectural collections – it contains over four million items, so there's plenty to see! If you’re curious about what we do at the Library and with the collections, or want to discover the latest about our education programmes, public events and exhibitions at the RIBA, please visit

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