Royalty and Ceremony
Plate from Incoronatione di Ferdinand I a Re de Regno Lombardo-Veneto (Milan, circa 1838). This book was formerly in the Vienna palace of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha princes.
In addition to military uniforms, Mrs. Brown was very interested in civic and ceremonial costumes and uniforms and sought out books depicting such. She amassed an impressive collection of large, beautifully illustrated fete books describing and depicting royal and state occasions, such as coronations, dynastic weddings and funerals, processions and other scenes of pomp and circumstance at which a variety of uniforms, liveries, and ceremonial dress are much in evidence. Notable among these are elaborate volumes, some stamped with royal armorials or containing royal bookplates, depicting the coronations of Louis XVI (1775), Napoleon I (1804), George IV of England (1821), Karl I as the last King of Hungary (1917 ), and Empress Elizabeth (1742) and Emperor Nicholas II (1896) of Russia. One particular volume of note is the fete book published in commemoration of the coronation of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1856. This impressive folio contains 17 fine chromolithographed plates printed in France by Lemercier illustrating various coronation scenes and celebrations.
A number of scrolls depict the funerals of important royals and other dignatories such as George IV, Queen Victoria and the Duke of Wellington, while a large folio containing 152 mounted sepia photographs represents the funeral procession of General Grant in New York City on August 8, 1885. One gouache scroll, made around 1832, finely executed and heightened in gold, shows a state procession of the Emperor Akbar II.
The collection is still being added to and is kept up to date. More recent royal events such as the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, are represented.