Object Details

Captain Pechell Memorial Statue

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General Information
Object Parts
Object Condition

Author: Simon Alexander
Copyright for Photograph:

Simon Alexander


Street:Stanmer Park
Council:Brighton & Hove City Council
County:East Sussex
Location on Google Map
Object setting:Public Park
Access is:Public
Location note:In bushes at the side of the Rangers Yard in Stanmer Park
In the AZ book:East Sussex
Grid reference:F6
The A-Z books used are A-Z East Sussex and A-Z West Sussex (Editions 1A 2005). Geographers' A-Z Map Company Ltd. Sevenoaks.
OS Reference:TQ338092
Previous location:Originally on the north side of the vestibule in the Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Previous location:Brighton Museum and Art Gallery - moved to Stanmer Park sometime after 1940

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Name : Matthew Noble

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General Information

Commissioned by: Pechell Testimonial Committee (Messrs.Clarke and Stone Hon. Secs.)
Commissioned also by: Public Memorial Fund
Construction period:1856 - 1859
Installation date:02/1859
Unveiling date:02/1859
Work is:Extant
Owner custodian:Brighton & Hove City Council
Object listing:Not listed
Description:The figure is dressed in the uniform of the Middlesex Regiment. The right arm, that once held a sword, is pointing forward, upwards and to the right. The left arm and hand was originally downwards holding a hat (shako). The statue was carved, with the exception of the right arm, from a single block of stone and represents Pechell in the act of leading his men in a charge. The statue stood on a pedestal (whereabouts unknown) that bore an inscription.
Inscription:None visible on the figure.

The pedestal on which it stood in The Royal Pavilion held the inscription:


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Categories:Sculptural, Military, Free Standing, Commemorative
Object type1:Sculpture
Object type2:Statue
Subject type1:Portrait
     Subject subtype1:Standing
Subject type2:Figurative
     Subject subtype1:Full-length

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Object Parts

Part 1:Pedestal
     Height (cm):95
     Width (cm):100
     Depth (cm):100
Part 2:Figure
     Material:Caen stone
     Height (cm):323

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Object Condition

Overall condition:Poor
Risk assessment:Immediate risk
Condition 1 of type:Surface
     Condition 1: Surface spalling, crumbling
     Condition 2: Biological growth
     Condition 3: Abrasions, cracks, splits
     Condition 4: Corrosion, Deterioration
     Condition 5: Bird Guano
     More details:The detail on the figure is badly weather worn and eroded. The bulk of the statue is now covered in thin moss.
Condition 2 of type:Structural
     Condition 1: Broken or missing parts
     Condition 2: Loose elements
     Condition 3: Cracks, splits, breaks, holes
     More details:The statue has been broken in several places. The head has been broken off and is now missing. The hat (shako) that was in the figure’s left hand has also been broken off and is discarded on the ground. The left arm is also broken off above the elbow. There are some holes on the figure where the stone has been chipped away.
Condition 3 of type:Vandalism
     Condition 1: Structural damage
     Condition 2: Surface damage
     More details:See above
Date of on-site inspection:16/04/2007

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History:Pechell, Captain William, Henry, Cecil George.
Killed before Sabastopol, 3 September 1855.
Town meeting to raise funds for a memorial (Brighton Herald, 29 September 1855).
Fund to close January 1856 (Brighton Herald 5 January 1856).
Town Council accepts memorial (Brighton Herald 8 January 1859).
Statue arrives in Brighton (Brighton Herald 19 February 1859).
(Brighton Local Studies Library cardfile)

Captain Pechell was the only son of Vice-Admiral Sir George Brooke Pechell, Bart.and the Hon. Lady Katherine Annabella Pechel. G.B. Pechell was MP for Brighton for over 25 years.
There had been plans several years ago to take the statue to the Middlesex Regiment Museum but these had failed due to the difficulty of transporting a statue of such size and weight.
The statue was moved to the entrance hall of Brighton Museum in November 1914 and in 1930 to the southern end of the art gallery – discussions took place in 1930 about moving the statue to an outdoor position.
(Pavilion and Library Committee Minutes, 10 April 1930)

The statue was moved to the far end of the permanent art gallery and then to Stanmer Park sometime after 1940.
(Brighton Museum accounts, 9 July 1940)

In various Pechell family documents the sculptor is given as Thorneycroft but the Pavilion Committee in 1859 gives the sculptor as Noble. The two sculptors however did share a studio during the time when the statue was constructed which is possibly why there is some confusion.

In June 1855, Pechell had refused an opportunity presented personally by Prince Albert to return to England. ‘After the attack on the Redan on 18th June, a gracious offer was made by Prince Albert to place him in His Royal Highness’s Regiment of Guards, which would have been the means of expediting his return to England; but the high position he held in his Regiment and the zeal which stimulated him in the conscientious discharge of his duties would not allow him at such a moment to quit the post of honor and of danger to which he had so nobly devoted himself; he therefore requested permission to remain in the 77th , and he had the satisfaction of being informed that his decision was fully approved and appreciated by His Royal Highness.’
(Brighton Herald. Saturday 15 September 1855, p3.)

A well attended public meeting was held on Monday 24 September 1855 to determine the type of memorial suitable to commemorate Pechell. A letter to his father from a fellow soldier was read out:
“Before Sebastopol, September 4th 1855”
“DEAR SIR GEORGE – It is sad news for you, and for us, that was brought up from the trenches last night; for your gallant son has paid the penalty of war, and fallen honourably in difficult and dangerous service. You will have heard from those who were more intimate with him, how sincerely all were attached to him in his regiment, how all regret his loss, and that he was not spared to help us possibly in more important work than that in which he unfortunately was lost.
Small walls and quarries and rough ground in front of a new sap considered important prevented its easily being carried on, and it was necessary to occupy that shelter before the Russians got there at dusk, in order that we might have the advantage of the cover against them, instead of their firing from it upon us. Magor-General Straubenzee would not accept your son’s volunteer to do this in the early part of the day, as it was to have been carried out from a different part of the work, but finding it had not been occupied, from some mistake, he then sent up your son, whose knowledge of the ground was good, and whose conduct had been, a few nights before, conspicuously good at the same service. He took out with him a sergeant and eight men, supported by a sergeant and twelve others, but before getting possession of the walls and rough ground, received a volley from the Russians who were hid there, one of which balls passed through his heart giving him, alas, instantaneous, but painless death. His body was brought in and will be buried tomorrow morning, in the same spot where the many of his regiment, and his gallant Colonel, Egerton, amongst them.
But this loss of familiar names of the good and gallant blood of English gentlemen is most painful, however much it is redeemed in your son by the knowledge of his constant energy and attention, his devotion to the service, which made him volunteer for a duty both difficult and dangerous, in the hope of adding to the fair credit he had gained for similar assistance to others a few nights before.
Yours sincerely
WM. J. Codrington”
Several speeches followed, Laurence Peel, the proposer, referring to the recent fall of Sebastopol, said that the recent news of Pechell’s death had ‘cast a gloom over this town that subsequent good tidings had been entirely unable to dispel’.He then paid tribute to Sir George Brooke Pechell for his devotion to Brighton as MP in five successive parliaments. On the subject of a memorial, Peel added: ‘…I am glad to find it proposed in the resolution which I shall presently have the honour to submit, that the inhabitants of Brighton should be called upon to evince their desire of doing honour to the memory of the brave by erecting some appropriate work of art in or near one of the public buildings (Cheers). …It is true that the cold urn and inanimate bust can to nothing to fill up the gap which has been made in this respected family, and even the well merited praise of the whole community, must fall unheard on the dull cold ear of death; but still we shall be right in expressing our feelings in the manner proposed on this occasion in the hope that by doing so we may afford gratification to the wounded feelings of Captain Pechell’s family, and also that they will accept it from us as an assurance of our respect, our sympathy, and our gratitude. (Hear, Hear.). It may serve also as a memorial to animate other young men who are going from among us to fight the battles of their country, to emulate the private and public virtues of Captain Pechell, and also to gain honourable mention and record for themselves in the event of their being cut of in the flower of their days and to have merited as honourable and as truthful an ecomium as that to be inscribed on the proposed monument.’. Peel’s proposal was seconded by William Catt. The motion was carried unanimously. Mr. W.H. Mills suggested that the memorial should be placed in the chancel of the Parish Church (St. Nicholas), near to the memorial to the Duke of Wellington. An extract from a letter, dated 7th September 1855, from Lieutenant-Colonel Stratton, commanding the 77th regiment was also read out: ‘Your gallant and heroic son was killed in the execution of his duty on the evening of the 3rd. He was posting some sentries in front of a trench we were making at right angles with the 6th parallel, and consequently close to the enemy, when the Russians from behind the stone walls for which our sentries were making, fired one direful volley, and the whole English party fell dead. In the whole course of a long service I never knew an officer so deeply and universally regretted; he was beloved by the officers and the idol of his men. He is an irreparable loss to the 77th Regiment’. Other letters related the burial of Pechell’s body stating that the entire Regiment followed behind to the place of interment where he was lowered into the ground ‘...amidst the din and thunder of countless guns’.
(Brighton Herald. Saturday 29 September 1855, p3.)

On 3 January 1856, the Committee met to hear the written response to condolences from Sir. G. Brooke Pechell. The Address of Condolence had been signed by 1130 Brighton inhabitants. Decisions still had not been taken as to the exact type of memorial – this decision was to be taken when the subscription fund had closed. It was recommended though that an ‘appropriate Work of Art’ be placed in or near to one of the public buildings of the town. Subscriptions were being received at Messrs. Hall, West & Co.’s Bankers, North Street, Brighton; and at the London and County Bank, Pavilion Buildings.
(Brighton Herald. Saturday 5 January 1856, p2)

'The Mayor, having wished the Council a Happy New Year, informed them that he had received a letter from Mr. Somers Clarke and Mr. Charles Stone, who were appointed at a public meeting Honarary Secretaries of a Committee for perpetuating the memory of the gallant Captain Pechell, son of the Hon. Member for this Borough, who fell in the noble performance of his duty before Sebastopol. It informed him that Mr. M. Noble had executed a statue of Captain Pechell, which was now ready to be delivered to the town. On the motion of Mr. Lamb, seconded by Mr. Webb, it was resolved that the statue be accepted by the Town Council and that the Pavilion Committee be requested to provide a place for its reception in that building.'.
(Brighton Herald, 8 January 1859, p3.)

Interestingly, the local newspapers were unhappy with the statue's placing in the Pavilion:
'The memorial statue of the son of our veteran Representative has arrived in Brighton, and occupies a place in the vestibule of the Pavilion. A most unfit receptacle, by the way, for such a work of art, both because it cannot be seen except to the greatest disadvantage, and because the Pavilion is an unsafe, and, therefore, improper place, in which to keep valuables of any kind. And this is most valuable as a work of art. Mr. M. Noble, who deservedly ranks foremost among the sculptors of the day, has excelled himself in its production. The design is bold, one might almost say daring; yet it has been realised with perfect success. The young soldier stands before one, just as he might have appeared leading on his troops to the fatal charge, his handsome face lit up with animation; his tall, slender figure, easy and graceful, because perfectly natural. Combined with felicity of design, there is the utmost minuteness and truthfulness of detail. The soldier's uniform is redeemed from ugliness as far as possible; but it is not shirked in a single point. It is there even to the motto of the regiment upon every button. The material of Caen stone. Some day, when it can be seen, Brighton will be proud of this statue.'
(Brighton Herald. Saturday 19 February 1859, p2)
Hard archive file:Yes

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Source 1 :
     Title:Alexander Statue Project (c.1980s)
     Author:Alexander, Simon.
     Location:Brighton History Centre
     Catalogue reference:SB383 SM

Source 2 :
     Title:Captain Pechell Statue File
     Location:Keeper of Fine Art, Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

Source 3 :
     Title:Castle Goring Archives MSS
     Author:Pechell family of Castle Goring, Worthing
     Document:Extracts from the Public Journals relating to the death of Captain Pechell 1547-1938
     Location:West Sussex Records Office
     Publisher:Pechell family of Castle Goring, Worthing

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Author: Simon Alexander
Copyright: Simon Alexander

Date: 16/04/2007
Author: Anthony McIntosh
Copyright: Creative Commons

Author: Brighton & Hove Museums
Copyright: Brighton & Hove Museums

Author: Illustrated London News
Copyright: Illustrated London News

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