* Prices may differ from that shown
The Prince Regent (later King George IV) was a bit of a man about town and used to enjoy his breaks in Brighton before minor inconveniences like reigning got in the way, and it was to his specifications that the Royal Pavilion was built. The original building was started in 1787, and the building was expanded on up until 1823. It is based in central Brighton and is now owned by the local authority. Parking in the city centre is a nightmare so I suggest walking if you can or using local public transport - the station is 10-15mins walk away.
Admission was £9.80 (concessions are available, as are family and group tickets. Discounted prices are also available to local residents) which may seem a bit steep but I think it is worth it. We arrived one sunny Sunday in the afternoon and handed over our dosh to the distracted receptionist who seemed unimpressed with her ticket machine. So distracted in fact, that she forgot to tell us about the included audio tour. It wasn't until we got into the first room and saw the numbered indicators that we realised there was one available, and back tracked to reception. They are available in several languages and there was a children's version too. I found the audio tour very informative, but if you prefer to not use it, they do have a board in each room describing its function. The audio tour describes the Prince as a person, as well as that period in history, and not just the building, so you will hear lots of information. However, parts can be skipped if not to your taste. There is probably a guide book too, but I expect the receptionist forgot to tell us again.
The land originally belonged to a farmhouse which was bought by the Prince and done up to become the more modest Marine Pavilion. John Nash took it over in 1815, after George became Regent and turned the building into what we see today. The nearby Brighton Museum and Brighton Dome Theatre were originally his stables. This fellow didn't do things by halves. I am not going to describe every room we visited, but I am going to mention a few personal highlights. Much of the style of the Pavilion is chinoiserie, which is Oriental influenced and was a very fashionable at the time and a favourite with the Prince.
As both Prince and King, George loved entertaining and the ladies. The largest room and one of the most impressive is the Banqueting room. It is a long and tall room dominated by a magnificent chandelier. The chandelier is 30 foot long and reported to weigh a ton. The chandelier is set in the recess of one of the domes which has palm leaves painted on it. There are a number of palm leaves made from copper, if I recall correctly, attached to the painted dome to give it a three dimensional effect. From here a silver dragon 'holds' the chandelier in his claws. Within the chandelier are smaller dragons 'breathing fire' into lotus flower shades as well as countless shimmery crystals. Subtle it isn't.
Another opulent and very over the top room is the Music Room decorated in rich reds and blues with lots of gold. There are swathes of fabrics draped across one side and lots of gold snakes coiling up pillars, not to mention a fair quotient of dragons. This is where the King's private band would play. The recess of the dome is filled with thousands of gold 'shells', and would certainly have been a good way for George to impress his guests.
It was reported that George often spent more time with his personal tailor than his ministers and there is a small temporary exhibition on at the moment called Dress for Excess, which runs until February 2012. It shows a range of Regency outfits for both men and women, including a number of items of clothing that belonged to the king himself. It would appear that George rather liked his food too. Some of general items of clothing are dotted around the pavilion, plus there is one smallish room dedicated to just this exhibition which also shows his spectacular coronation robe, which isn't usually on display. There is also a small exhibition showing how the Pavilion was used during World War II where it was an army hospital for Indian soldiers. I believe this is a permanent exhibition.
In addition to these public rooms and some others, we also get to see the private rooms used by George, his family and successors. After King George IV's death in 1830, his brother William IV took over and he did use the Pavilion for entertaining, but too a less extravagant extent. When their niece Queen Victoria succeeded to the throne, she visited occasionally, but was no doubt uncomfortable with the level of opulence, having more modest tastes. Being prolific in child-bearing, she soon outgrew it and sold the Pavilion to the people of Brighton in 1850.
On the first floor is a small tea room which sells sandwiches, some hot dishes and cream teas. We enjoyed a cheese scone here. Postcards are available for 50p and there is a more extensive gift shop as you exit on the ground floor.
Overall we enjoyed an hour and a half here (including a brief tea stop) and I found this an informative and fascinating place to visit and a must for anyone who enjoys historic houses. The Pavilion is open daily apart from at Christmas, with slightly reduced hours in the winter months.
Access for wheelchair users is restricted to the ground floor only.
4/5 Pavilion Buildings
Telephone 03000 290900
Fax 03000 290908
The Royal Pavilion Brighton.
The Royal Pavilion Brighton is one of the most quirky buildings to be found in the UK. It was built by George Prince of Wales who later became George IV on the death of his father 'Mad King George III'.
George Prince of Wales on reaching the age of 21 looked for somewhere to spend his time to be used as a bolt hole away from the formalities of the Royal court and life in London. He was gregarious and a bit of a play boy having many expensive tastes both in women and entertaining. He led the high life with a few women on the side. On more than one occasion he spent far more than he should have done and received bail outs from the government to meet his exuberant lifestyle equivalent in today's money it worked out as being bailed out for millions of pounds.
It is a most unusual building due to its design and might be just a foible of the Prince of Wales with too much time on his hands and too much money after all he was 59 before he became King although he was the Prince Regent while his father was suffering bouts of insanity which some believe was due to Porphyria.
He was one of the most prolific collectors of the Royal family preferring the arts and lived life to the full rather than take interest in affairs of state. Searching for somewhere on the south coast he found a farm house right slap bang in the centre of Brighton which he bought. He employed the services of John Nash who was instrumental in building many well known British Buildings. The prince wanted something that was outrageous and ostentatious and between them came up with the following design. Externally it appeared to be in the form of an Indian palace with copulas, domes and minarets however internally the appearance was Chinese design.
The pavilion is now owned by Brighton District council following Queen Victoria's visits which she found quite distasteful as she did not like it as there was no direct view of the sea from the pavilion and with her ever extending family it was not really suitable for her needs. She sold it for the Princely sum of £50,000 to the council in 1850 and removed most of the fittings and furnishings. She had only stayed in the pavilion on two occasions. Some of the furniture currently in the pavilion are on loan from the Queen.
The gardens are quite pleasant and there is free access to the gardens and surrounding park.
A walk through the pavilion.
Entering the main entrance into what looks like a simple square reception room which is barely but tastefully furnished with four Chinese designed lampshades, a table and a couple of chairs you turn right into the ticket office. After buying your tickets you are given an audio machine which you input different numbers pressing the corresponding numbers as you proceed at your own pace throughout the pavilion. There is also additional information available as you go around the pavilion if you wish to hear it. You go back into the reception room and then turn left into the long gallery.
The Long Gallery.
The long gallery is furnished with Chinese style furniture, chairs and side boards, large vases and ornaments. There are several paintings and mirrors hung on the handmade Chinese designed wall papers. At either end of the corridor are flights of wrought iron staircases which are fashioned into what appears to be bamboo with dragons on the side of them on each stairwell. After walking along the long gallery you enter the Grand dining room.
The Grand Banqueting room.
The room is vast and is set up as if there were a banquet about to take place. The table is laid with beautiful crystal glasses, lovely porcelain fruit bowls and a mixture of gilt silverware. Above the table is a thirty foot chandelier which literally weights a ton it is held in the talons of a dragon in the dome shaped ceiling. There are six other huge lotus shaped lanterns again they are all held by dragons. Around the top of the room are coloured glass windows which help let the light in.
The surrounding walls are highly decorated with Chinese scene paintings and other beautiful paintings surrounded by gold frames. On the side boards are lots of gilt serving dishes which is said to be the largest display of silver gilt in the UK. There are also several Spode lamps dotted around the room to add not only to the decor but to provide much needed light.
The prince often held banquets to entertain his friends and some of the banquets would last for hours on end as on some occasions it was not unusual for the banquet to consist of between 70 and 100 dishes. Unusually the Prince would sit at the centre of the table as opposed to the head of the table so that he was in the centre of the conversation. He would often be accompanied by either one of his many mistresses or by the woman he loved his illegally married wife Mrs. Fitzherbert.
After admiring the huge banqueting room you carry on through a serving room where all the food would be put into serving dishes ready for the footman to enter the banqueting hall and serve the seated guests. This side room was essential in order that the food be served hot and all the guests were served at the same time. They would have their serving dishes and then enter the hall standing behind each guest. They would then step forward and serve the food which was still hopefully piping hot.
The kitchen is set up with mock birds, fish and vegetables to give the visitor a realistic idea of what it would have looked like during the Princes day. It was one of the most modern of kitchens of the time with a special design to ensure that the ventilation was perfect for the vast amounts of food that was being prepared. The kitchen looks very light and airy due to the windows in the square ceiling which allowed in copious amounts of light and also allowed the heat of the kitchen to escape. It was designed by John Nash and was innovative in that it was built quite close to the banqueting hall which meant that the food could be cooked and served more or less quite hot.
There were several work benches where the food was prepared and the latest steam ovens which were able to cope with the high use for preparing and cooking the food. In the centre of the room was a work station which was steam heated where meats could be cut and still kept warm. The steam part of the station is no longer working.The oriental theme continues into the kitchen by four iron columns which help support the ceiling. They are in the shape of palm trees.
There was an open fire with spits along the front of it and unlike other kitchens the spits were automatic which meant that they did not have to have a small lad sitting beside the fire turning the spits whilst the food cooked.
Around the outside of the kitchen are lots of dressers with copper pans and other kitchen equipment including tiny moulds where jellies were made and set. The kitchens must have been like hell on earth to work in bearing in mind that some 100 dishes were made for one of the sumptuous banquets.
Leaving the Kitchen you go back through the serving room and through the banqueting hall and continue into the drawing rooms.
The Drawing rooms.
Following attending a banquet or one of the many concerts held in the ballroom there are a suite of rooms along the rear of the building where guests could adjourn to relax and chat after the entertainment.
The first room is a drawing room which is beautifully decorated with comfortable furniture, books, games tables with gilt woodwork and art works on the walls. The wall paper is handmade Chinese design.
The music room gallery.
The next reception room is the music room where guests would relax and listen to impromptu music played on the grand piano and other musical instruments either by the prince or his musicians. The current grand piano on display was donated to the Pavilion by Queen Mary. These rooms are quite comfortable and less ostentatious compared to the grand music room and the banqueting room and are certainly more homely. This room is the ground floor bow room.
The music room.
This is the second largest room in the pavilion where the prince would have his orchestra perform concerts by Handle and operas by Verdi. In fact at one stage Rossini himself performed one of his operas here by special command.
The room is vast and was built to impress. The great hall is ornately decorated in plush red handmade wall paper with lots of gold gilt decorating the walls. There are huge paintings and a massive gold clock over the fire place. There is an organ hidden behind panelling but the pipe work is on view. Above the great hall is a massive dome which is covered in hand gilded gold shaped cockleshells. The floor is covered in a hand knotted red Axminster carpet. There are some benches that you can sit on at the back of the hall to admire it while you sit down and relax for a while.
Disaster strikes the Pavilion.
In recent years the music room has been struck by disasters the first in 1975 when through an act of arson someone set fire to it. I think it took around 11 or 12 years to restore it back to its former glory. A superb restoration took place however in the during the hurricaine that hit the South of England in 1987 a large piece of stonework toppled over in the fierce winds and fell through the dome smashing the decorative work inside the dome and falling through the floor taking half the carpet with it. It was a true disaster and there are photographs on the wall outside the music room to show you the damage that it caused. Fortunately in both incidents no one was hurt.
The music room is said to be unlucky because there is a mixture of Dragons and snakes adorning the walls which according to the Chinese are omens of bad luck. It certainly has appeared to be unlucky to this room.
The prince regents suite of rooms.
The bedroom of King George Iv has been recreated although at one point it was moved to the ground floor on account of him suffering from gout and being overweight. The bedroom consisted of a suite of rooms. In one corner of the room there was a door leading into a bathroom which contained a bath for bathing in salt water and a more usual bath for bathing. There was a discreet door near to his bed where the valet or servants could enter his room attend to him and leave discreetly. Throughout the whole of the pavilion there is a middle corridor which the servants used so that they could scurry about their business without coming into contact with the Prince or his guests. They were out of sight and out of mind so to speak. This is his actual bed which was at Windsor Castle but is on loan to the Pavilion from the Queen
The next room was his sitting room which was very comfortably furnished with French antique furniture. There was still a Chinese feel to the room as the wall papers were decorated with dragons and paintings but it was less ostentatious than the reception rooms down below. The final room of his suite are the bow room on the upper floor above the bow music gallery room. The bow room is decorated in yellow wall paper with traditional dragon prints.
Queen Victoria's suite of rooms.
The next set or rooms were set up for Queen Victoria but she loathed the pavilion finding it far too ostentatious and in her words strange and odd! The rooms are fairly simply furnished although she had a side room for her maid to sleep in next to her bedroom in an anti room. The wall paper in this room looks like a Laura Ashley explosion and has been reproduced. She hated the fact that she was actually unable to see the sea from the pavilion and thought it rather pointless. The bed in the room is actually a reproduction of her bed which has a straw mattress and to be honest looks petite and rather uncomfortable.
She was also conscious of public opinion of the view that the Royal family were over spending and she became rather tight to say the least deciding to sell the Pavilion to the town council for £50,000.
At the top of the house there is an exhibition of how the pavilion was used during the war to house injured Indian service men and it was transformed into a hospital and nursing home. There are displays and articles on show giving detailed accounts of what it was like being cared for here during the war.
There are good toilets available and one for disabled use. They were clean and tidy and smell free.
You can also arrange to hold a civil marriage ceremony at the Pavilion which would make it very unique and quite an experience.
The Royal Pavilion Tea room and terrace.
There is also a tea room on the top floor with an outside terrace which is open during the summer months overlooking the park. It has quite an extensive menu serving lunches and afternoon tea. The tea room is nicely decorated with blue walls and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and it seems quite roomy. Prices appeared to be quite reasonable although we did not eat here from what we saw it looked quite nice.
What is quite striking is the use of sky lights which help creates an air of light throughout the building. Some have been painted with Chinese designs and animals on them which make them even more effective.
The inevitable gift shop.
To get out of the palace you have to walk through the gift shop. Of course you are not obliged to buy anything but from what we saw there were some reasonable priced items for sale including many historical and interesting books. There were some nice items to buy as gifts and if you were an overseas tourist you might want to buy a small memento of your visit to this unique building.
Would I recommend a visit to The Royal Pavilion?
Yes because there is a plenty to see there and the visit should take in the region of two hours inside the house. The grounds are quite nice too and it is a pleasure to sit in the gardens for a short while admiring the copulas and domes on the roof and ornate decoration around the outside of the pavilion. It is quite easy to imagine how life would have been not only for the Royals but also from the perspective of the servants getting an insight into the workings of the Kitchen.
The audio tour is quite handy as it explains the different things in the rooms and what to look at and what kind of activities took place in each of the rooms. There are also snippets of information thrown in as well which you might not have heard about.
Price of Admission is a follows:
Child £ 5.60.
Residents of Brighton or Hove half price admission.
I think this represents good value for money and well worth the cost of admission and the fact that you can see and experience so much in one day
It is suitable for people with disabilities including those confined to wheelchairs on the ground floor only and there are no lifts to take you to the upper floors. I would be rather hesitant to take young children as I think they would soon get bored however if the child is slightly older and interested in history it would be a good introduction to a royal property and an opportunity to have a look around the pavilion.
These range from 09:30 in the summer to 17:45 Hrs
Winter opening 10:00 hrs - 17:15 Hrs
How to find it!
It is smack bang in the centre of Brighton and you cannot miss it due to its unique and quirky features!
From London by road - At the end of the M23/A23
From London by train - 15 minutes on foot from Brighton Station.
By Bus - 5 minutes walk from the Bus station.
From the seafront - 5 minutes walk.
Parking is available throughout the town but it can be incredibly expensive to park in Brighton it is best to determine where to park before you go. There is also parking on the streets with meters but this is also quite expensive.
The Pavilion is close to the famous shopping lanes area of Brighton so if you are feeling flush make sure you take your credit cards with you.
For further information type in Royal Pavilion Brighton into your search engine and you will be directed to several sites including the council owned site where information is available regarding marriages, hours of opening and other useful information.
The Royal Pavilion sits comfortably in the heart of Brighton presiding over its surroundings like an elderly and eccentric uncle at a gathering in his honour. In unconventional attire, with a benign countenance and serene demeanour which belies its chequered past, it silently surveys the busy metropolis around. Brighton citizens and its many visitors mill around, some casting fond glances in its direction, others viewing the inappropriate apparel with mildly critical distaste but most feeling some interest in the tales it can tell of its illustrious and notorious past combined with a respect for its longevity, having survived against all the odds.
Whatever one feels about Brightons premier landmark, nobody can deny that it and the person responsible for its construction are the two factors which have had the most impact on the development of modern Brighton. In the mid eighteenth century, Brighthelmstone was little more than a fishing village occupying roughly the area now known as The Lanes but sea erosion had taken its toll and it was in a rough state.
In 1753 one Dr Russell of Lewes published an influential treatise on the benefits of seawater bathing and drinking. He directed patients to the nearest seaside location, Brighthelmstone and soon set up house and a treatment centre not far from the site now occupied the Pavilion, (now the Royal Albion Hotel). Soon the rich and famous were flocking in to take the waters and the ascent in Brighthelmstones fortunes began.
Prince George (son of the mad George III, and affectionately now known to locals as Prinny) was advised to visit for his health in 1783 and 1784 and by 1786 was looking for a permanent residence in the area. He rented and later purchased a superior farmhouse which occupied part of the site the Pavilion does today. Over the next forty years or so, the farm house was rebuilt, extended and transformed in various stages into the building we now know.
Prinny became the Prince Regent in 1811 when his father, because of an illness affecting his mental faculties, could no longer carry out his duties as King. In 1820 at the age of 57, he succeeded to the throne, as George IV and reigned for 10 years. Prinny was a flamboyant character, a colourful dandy, extravagant and licentious. He entertained lavishly and frequently with great panache and gusto. His completely inappropriate behaviour made him the butt of many contemporary cartoonists! It is his character which is reflected in the unashamed opulence, eccentricity and ostentation of the Pavilion as we see it today.
With this Royal recognition, the popularity of Brighthelmstone amongst the in crowd soared. The Regency terraces, which had begun to spring up in the 1780s multiplied and spread further and further in each direction and, by the time the London to Brighton railway line arrived in 1840, the place was transformed into the fashionable resort of Brighton
Prinny was succeeded by his brother William IV who adapted parts of the Pavilion for his own use in the seven years of his reign. However, his successor, Queen Victoria developed an intense dislike of the place mainly because it was not sufficiently private and never visited after 1845. By 1850, stripped of its contents by the Queen, it was beginning to fall into disrepair and threatened with demolition. However, after much local petitioning, it was sold to the town for £53,000, the money going towards the creation of a new wing at Buckingham Palace.
There followed over a century during which the Pavilion enjoyed a much less exalted status as a municipal building, housing exhibitions meetings and other such functions. Some of the out buildings were demolished and others taken over for different uses e.g. the concert venue now known as The Dome which can be seen to the north-west of the Pavilion was built as the Royal stables ( lucky horses!)
In the First World War it was used as a military hospital, firstly housing wounded Indian soldiers and then soldiers who were recovering from loosing limbs. The South Gate was given by the Indian nation as a memorial to the Indian wounded and in thanks to the people of Brighton.
By the end of the Second World War, the building was in a state of disrepair and again threatened with demolition but saved by a very narrow Council majority in favour of its conservation. In the forties a programme of interior restoration began and continued through to the eighties when a £10 million exterior restoration was embarked upon. Despite an arson attack in 1975 which damaged the Music Room and hurricane damage in 1987, the project was completed in the nineties. Much of the furniture and other effects were returned on permanent loan by successive monarchs including the present Queen. Today, whilst conservation is an ongoing concern, the Royal Pavilion has been completely and authentically restored and is very much as it was when Prinny realised his plans for it in the early 19th century
I make no apology for the excursion into history because it is the key to an understanding of the Pavilion. The original farmhouse was extended and transformed over a period of 35 years and enjoyed several reincarnations but it was the celebrated architect, John Nash, who between 1815 and 1823 translated Prinnys whims into the building we see today so beautifully restored.
Before I lived in Brighton and attended as a visitor, I looked on the place as a completely inappropriate blot on the landscape but somewhat in tune with the rather brash and gaudy image the town had at that time. But, as the years have passed, I have grown to love it. In its perfect symmetry with its array Indian-inspired domes. cubes, minarets and spires and delicate stonework, carved with such intricacy that in parts it resembles lacework, its a picturesque, exotic but accessible gem in the heart of a busy metropolis
If you are lucky enough to see it illuminated at night particularly from the gardens (which are now a public park and thoroughfare where, quite often, a lone saxophonist will be found playing and adding to the atmosphere), you cant help feeling the almost magical mysticism which emanates from this oriental edifice which some even compare to the Taj Mahal, (perhaps a little too over enthusiastically!).
The Royal Pavilion is actually surprisingly small when compared to todays royal residences. However what it lacks in size, it makes up for in the quality, vibrancy and eccentricity of the Chinese style décor and the variety of magnificent furniture and furnishings. I have visited many times over the years with a succession of visitors of all ages and find that, especially with children and older people, the compactness is a positive advantage. A visit doesn't las long enough for children to get bored get bored as they hunt for the gilded dragons and carved palm trees and the elderly do not have to tax themselves unduly and are grateful that the imitation bamboo staircases are not numerous or too steep!
***The Long Corridor***
From the octagonal entrance hall containing the admissions desk you pass into this area which is flanked at either end by mock bamboo stair cases but have no fear apparently these are actually fashioned in cast iron! Its a cool oasis on days when the sun is shining because the only light comes from large painted glass panels above. However this does not dim the beauty of pink panels decorated with blue/silver trees and birds. Artificial light is provided when necessary, by a large central glass lamp bedecked with red tassels and several oriental looking painted lanterns. Here my children used to love counting the quaint 19th century clay figures of Chinese court officials (made in China!). which are scattered along the gallery amongst genuine bamboo and cane chairs. In case of argument there are 12!
***The Banqueting Room***
This is approached from the south end of the corridor and I always love to see the initial reaction of first time visitors as they enter from the dimness into this light and sumptuous room. Its a feast of red and gold offset by a highly polished dark wood floor. Large windows (which today unfortunately only overlook the heavy traffic of the old Stein) are framed with rich red drapes lined with gold fringing. The walls are hung with a series of huge canvasses depicting Chinese domestic scenes. A table laid up for a dessert course stretches almost the entire length of the room, surrounded by red upholstered chairs.
Above is a richly decorated shallow dome with canopies at either end The huge central chandelier, apparently 30 ft high and weighing one ton, hangs down seeming suspended between the claws of a magnificent gilded dragon with outstretched wings whilst a number of lesser dragons support the lights on an outer ring. Four smaller chandeliers hang at the corners of the room. Eight floor standing lamps of blue Spode china, sporting ormulu dragons below tulip shaped glass lampshades (acting very much as todays uplighters) stand along the walls .
Passing along the west side of the Banqueting Room and through a room, which I would describe as a serving area but which is actually known as the Table Deckers Room, we enter the Kitchen and again visitors tend to be taken aback because this looks to be a fully equipped kitchen, light and airy and utilitarian. I can almost imagine Jamie Oliver not looking too out of place in this environment!
Amongst other period kitchen containers and utensils lining the shelves of huge wooden fitted dressers around the walls is a collection of 550 beaten copper utensils which were formerly in the Duke of Wellingtons official London residence, Apsley House. Realistic looking ingredients sit on tables in the centre of the room. Unfortunately younger children might seek the answers to some challenging questions when they see the meat carcases hanging on one wall. But Mummy do we really eat pigs?
Even here the decorative detail has not been completely forgotten as the ceiling is supported by four cast iron columns with painted copper palm leaves at the top of each, whilst several strategically placed decorative copper canopies have been designed to draw away heat, smells and steam.
The whole kitchen was very modern at the time it was built. Even its location next to the banqueting room was quite innovative and functional as the food was less likely to get cold in transportation. The large Smoke Jack spit was the Smeg or Neff equivalent of the day. Powered by a rotary vane in the chimney it was turned by hot rising from the fire. Today ten chickens roast on it but, I am sure, it would have accommodated an entire pig.
Here would be prepared the lavish feasts Prinny would delight in providing for his many guests. Such banquets would often feature some sixty dishes and older children may enjoy studying the menu for one such junket which is displayed here ( as long as they will still be satisfied with fish and chips for their dinner!). I cant help wondering how the laced up ladies of the day managed to cope with even two courses
***The State Apartments***
Leaving the kitchen and travelling back north through the Banqueting Room again, we enter the state apartments consisting of three rooms, which run parallel to the Long Gallery and consist of the Banqueting Room Gallery , the Saloon and the Music Room Gallery.
The Gallery Rooms come almost as a relief being calmer than the breathtaking grandeur of the rooms they adjoin. Although gilding is still to be found, the white walls and more subdued drapes are of much less dramatic effect. The one small item of amusement to me in this area is Dolphin Couch in the Banqueting Room Gallery. Here we depart a moment from the chinoiserie as the couch is allegedly in the form of an Egyptian riverboat on crocodile feet, typical of furniture inspired by Nelsons victory at the battle of the Nile. Today it seems rather bizarre.
Between the gallery Rooms we encounter the Saloon. Oval in shape with a circular painted domed ceiling from which is suspended a large but delicate chandelier, this room has a serene splendour. Huge mirrors in gilded frames deck the walls and are complemented by similar shaped panels bearing designs of intertwining leaves and flowers.
However, the gold dragons and twisting serpents and highly lacquered doors throughout the State Apartments remind me that there is more awe inspiring splendour to come.
***The Music Room***
When entering the Music Room, I always expect the attendant to approach asking me to remove my shoes for you immediately sink into a luxurious hand-knotted Axminster carpet which was specially commissioned as a replica of the original. The carpet is predominantly blue and heavily patterned with designs in red and gold. Once assured that I can walk on it, I am free to survey the rest of the room.
The only hint of the rooms original use is an ornate organ which was dates back to 1884. Apparently now in poor condition musically speaking, it enjoys the same state of decoration as the remainder of the room
Music was one of Prinnys many passions and it was here that his own band would entertain guests as would some more celebrated musicians, such as the composer, Rossini. This room must have been the result of his wish to provide a setting which would do justice to such performances. From the guilt domed ceiling hang no less than nine lotus shaped chandeliers. All the walls are decorated with painted canvases in a rich red, inscibed with gold, depicting Chinese scenes. Painted dragon heads frame the top of the canvases whilst gilded serpents wrap themselves around the columns in between.
When my daughter first saw this room, she must have been about seven, and after she had stared in wonder for a while she decided, It must be like one of the rooms in My Little Ponys castle!. I translated this as meaning she was mightily impressed!
Having now covered the most ornate and impressive public rooms, I wont go into such detail concerning the remaining areas open to the public. Whilst these are beautifully restored, the Chinese theme still predominating, they more practical and utilitarian living quarters being designed for comfort rather than display. In fact I always feel the tour is guided the wrong way round the best should be saved until last. After the initial feast, the remainder will always be an anticlimax, however historically interesting.
The only remaining suite of rooms on the ground floor are The Kings Apartments designed by Nash during his final transformation of the Pavilion when the by now obese Prinny, suffering from gout and dropsy, found it too difficult to access the first floor. Here we find his bedroom dressing room and library. In a very recent development, an elaborate bed actually made for Prinny in 1828 and designed for his apartments at Windsor has been installed, being on permanent loan from The Queen
Upstairs, we can explore the Yellow Bow Rooms, designed for Prinnys brothers, the Dukes of York (yes, the Grand old Duke of York of nursery rhyme fame, as I always like to remind visitors) and Clarence and the South Galleries which were used as breakfast rooms.
Last but not least are Queen Victorias apartments, used by her between 1837 and 1845. The Queens bedroom is strikingly decorated with handpainted Chinese wallpaper, a reproduction of the original. There is also a maids room but what causes most wonderment is a water closet. On more than one occasion I have heard a younger visitor exclaim words to the effect, Did the old Queen really wee in that?. I am always tempted to reply. My dear, this is Brighton, I am sure any number of old queens have availed themselves of that convenience!
***The Gift Shop***
The tour takes you out through the gift shop which can also be entered from outside. This is an Alladins cave for gifts and souvenirs with varied and high quality merchandise but I will avoid describing it in great detail just as I avoid lingering there for too long for fear of giving into temptation!
To round off the trip, I sometimes take tea (with homemade cakes or scones) in The Queen Adelaide Tearoom on the first floor where you can sit inside or out on a balcony over looking the gardens. This is quite a pleasant and very English experience. Lunch is also served there but I have never been early enough to sample that! More often, I will take myself and any visitors for a much stronger cuppa at the kiosk, with more than adequate outside tables and seating, in the Pavilion Gardens. But one is spoilt for choice as there are many pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in the immediate vicinity.
Recently awarded status as a Green Flag Park, the Royal Pavilion Gardens are one of my favourite Brighton open air locations. In the heart of Brighton, the gardens, have been restored in recent years, following the design of John Nash which was typical of the Regency period when the fashionable formality of French gardens was replaced with a more natural style, with groupings of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The plantings, which are all based on records of the actual plants used originally, are in irregular beds bordering winding paths and lanes with intervals between them allowing the visitor a varying succession of views.
It is a vibrant and lively place always busy with people using it as a short cut or stopping to gaze and laze. There is always something happening whether it be organised entertainment as in the May Festival and throughout the Summer months or informal buskers. Whatever the season, if the weather is reasonable , this is where I like to end my Pavilion visit, watching the world go by against the backdrop of the Royal Pavilion.
I have lost count of the number of times I have visited Brightons Royal Pavilion but I never tire of it. The splendour and quirkiness of the whole place, so wonderfully and authentically restored, are a constant source of amazement and pleasure. It can offer something of interest to all age groups and really fires the imagination, making it easy to transport yourself back to those days when it was Prinnys Pleasure Dome exotic, erotic, extravagant, lavish and licentious times when overindulgence in all lifes vices was the order of the day. The building reflects it all.
I have heard commentators remark that the image of Brighton, some say its spirit - sometimes brash and gaudy, hedonistic, rather naughty but very tolerant and open minded is the result of natural progression from those times of lavish excess when the Pavilion was enjoying its hay day. Recently Brighton is being pushed more upmarket aiming for artistic and cultural status and recognition. I hope the Pavilion will always act as a reminder that, in essence, Brighton was, and I hope will always remain, that slightly wayward, larger than life, easy going, pleasure seeking place I have always known.
If you fancy a break from the sunny beach or shelter on a rainy afternoon or just a trip back in time, Brighton Pavilion is well worth a visit and can be enjoyed on many levels. Dont go on my recommendation alone, it was recently voted into third place on the UKTV History Series Britains Best (Palaces Section). Recognition indeed!
*****INFORMATION BEFORE YOUR VISIT*****
The Pavilion is easy to find being on the Old Stein right at the end of the A23 (the main road into Brighton when coming from the direction of London) just before you reach the sea. However, if travelling to Brighton, I would seriously advise anybody to take public transport. The parking situation is horrendous, car parks expensive with very little street parking space available. The Royal Pavilion is just a few minutes walk from the coach station at Poole Valley and a pleasant ten minute stroll downhill from the train station (providing you find a helpful local to indicate the quickest route). Many local buses pass the spot!
***People with Disabilities***
- Wheelchair access to ground floor and a disabled toilet available. Free wheelchair hire is also available
- Tactile tours for blind and partially sighted by arrangement, Braille map and elevations of the building are available on request. Guide dogs are welcome.
-Signed tours and Sennheiser system for people with hearing difficulties are available by arrangement .
Guided tours are available for groups in English, French and German but must be booked in advance From April 2006, audio guides have been made available free of charge to the all visitors. Five audio tours are offered in English, French, German, a visually-impaired tour and a basic English tour ideal for foreign tourists and other visitors who wish to take the tour in a simplified version.
***Opening Times ***
The Pavilion is open every day apart from 25th and 26th December. Opening times from October to March are 10.00am-5.15pm (last tickets at 4.30pm) and from April to September 9.30am-5.45pm (last tickets at 5.00pm)
The pricing is complicated but details may be found at http://www.royalpavilion.org.uk/visitor_services/admission_charges.as
Further Information is available by telephone 01273 292820/2 or from the website http://www.royalpavilion.org.uk/default.asp where more photos and panoramic video clips of some of the rooms described may also be viewed.
Why you are asking, would I leave this, the undoubted jewel in Brighton's crown for so long before writing a review about it? Well, for a start I needed a refresher, it is just over a year since I last visited the Royal Pavilion, on that occasion with my (then) 10 year old sister in law and a Polish friend of my wife's. It was my second visit in four years. Mrs R. on the other hand has managed to sneak an annual tour over the last four years. There always seems to be someone around to show off this, the pride of our towns' heritage, to.
My wife's "love affair" with this building began just before Christmas 2000. She was living at home in Poland with her parents and we had only met two months previously over the telephone. I used to send her emails and photographs showing life in this the city of my birth. Naturally one of the first had been an exterior shot of the Royal Pavilion. She could not believe that such a building could exist in England and quite genuinely thought that I was playing some kind of joke on her!
Of course, on arriving in Brighton six months later, the first thing that had to be seen was the Pavilion. It had not crossed my mind that the last time I had actually been inside it was with a school party over 30 years previously.
The Royal Pavilion is not the country's most difficult attraction to locate. Head for the seafront on the A23 London Road and you cannot fail to find it. Finding somewhere to park may prove more of a challenge! If you arrive in Brighton by bus, Poole Valley, the main bus station is just around the corner, whilst the railway station is a pleasant walk away. Upon our first visit in May 2001 we were living only 15 minutes away by foot. Now we live at the opposite end of town.
However you arrive, you will have to cross some part of the Pavilion grounds (or gardens) to get to the entrance. These gardens may well strike you as looking rather unkempt, barely 'tamed from nature'; this is an entirely deliberate strategy on the part of the local council who maintain this whole site. Thanks to detailed records of the plant stocks kept from the 1820's they know pretty much how they would have looked in the Pavilion's heyday.
Viewing the exterior of the Pavilion today, it is hard to believe that this, like most other stately homes, evolved originally from a much smaller, more modest house. In this case a farm house, dating from the days when Brighthelmestone (now Brighton) was a small fishing village. This building was situated on the very edge of the built up area, rather than, as now, being right in the heart of the city centre.
Obviously, looking at its appearance, this is no "ordinary" stately home. More a grand folly on a huge and extravagant scale, designed and built for someone with excessively rich tastes
that someone was George, Prince of Wales (1762 - 1830). Best known as the Prince Regent, due to his ruling as King during George III's, long incapacity, he became King George IV upon his father's death in 1820.
As the Prince of Wales, George first visited Brighton in 1783, aged 21. He came to stay with his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland, who lived in Grove house, adjacent to the farm house which was to develop into the Royal Pavilion. The purpose of his visiting Brighton, as many modern day tourists do, was to escape the daily bustle of (court) life in London. Additionally the royal doctors had advised him that; "the sea air may ease the swelling in the glands of the neck".
In reality what he discovered here was a comparatively carefree, if extravagant, lifestyle. Thanks to Dr Richard Russell who was publishing contemporary papers extolling the virtues of not only bathing in, but also drinking, sea water (either heated or mixed with milk) Brighton had by the 1750's become THE place to visit.
Upon arrival here in 1783, George discovered and enjoyed - all too much - the pleasures of the fastest growing town in England. Thanks to the Royal presence, along with his very colourful entourage, it was also rapidly developing into the most fashionable town in the Kingdom.
By 1786, due to his excessively extravagant lifestyle, George was saddled with debts and decided to move permanently to Brighton, on the premise that it would be less costly living here than in London
.another trend continuing to this day!
He illegally married his beautiful mistress, Mrs Fitzherbert who was a Roman Catholic. She was installed in one of the grand terraced houses opposite what was at that time described as "a respectable farm house". A tunnel was later to be dug, linking the two properties! The following year his financial situation was (inexplicably) resolved and to such an extent that that he was able to employ notable architect of the day Henry Holland to design a "Marine Pavilion".
The metamorphosis from the original farmhouse, through Marine Pavilion into the extraordinary grand Oriental Royal Pavilion, spanned the years 1787 to 1823. Seven years later George IV was dead. The lavishly decorated palace that he left behind had been largely the work of three men; John Nash, who designed the final exterior and two interior designers, Frederick Crace and Robert Jones.
Whilst photographs would be of far more use to you than my wordy description, briefly the outside appearance of this large but fairly low marine pavilion is decidedly Oriental, Indian even. Some have compared it to the Taj Mahal. It is in fact a unique building. From a distance the appearance is characterised by the huge central circular 'onion' dome, flanked by several others presenting an extraordinary rich symmetry to the whole. Regrettably there is currently some scaffolding in place, obviously breaking this. As you may well imagine, with such a complex building, subjected to the sea air, external maintenance is a never ending task.
Along with the domes are the minarets, dozens of them, some purely decorative, others concealing chimneys for the many open fires inside the Pavilion.
Look more closely at this building though and it may well be the external stonework, looking like lace hanging over the windows (pelmet style) that draws the eye. Indeed the longer I look at the stonework the more detail that I see in it. Flowers, leaves and crowns, all perfectly rendered - and recently restored!
Obviously any passer-by can freely appreciate the external beauty of this palace. It looks particularly spectacular when lit at night. It does have however one of this country's "must see" interiors. The more often that you visit, the more that you will pick out, such is the richness of the interior detail. My wife, having visited twice as often as me, is rather more au-fait with the interior layout.
On this particular visit, Sunday 30th October (2005), we were in the company of a very good friend and her five year old son. Children and stately homes can prove to be a rather unpredictable combination from previous experience; my little sister in law has seen the Pavilion twice now and loves the place. We were gambling that so spectacular is the interior of Brighton's Royal Pavilion that a bright five year old should find enough of interest in it, this, I think, turned out to be the case.
As every visitor has done, since its completion in 1823, we entered the Pavilion via the grand entrance on the west, or garden, side. After walking under the splendid domed 'porte cochere' - a covered porch for carriages, the building is entered via an octagonal vestibule leading to the Entrance Hall. This is where you will find the admission desk - and the front of a long queue in the summer months!
At this point I would recommend the purchase of the smaller (75p) walk around guide, leaving buying the splendid full colour guide book until reaching the shop at the end of the tour.
The Entrance Hall is a cool, if richly decorated oasis of green, partially lit by natural daylight from a row of painted glass panels set above the door where we came in. The paintings here are in gentle hues of yellow and green, the dragons - a reoccurring theme throughout the whole interior - striking various poses. This room, whilst unusual and attractive, does nothing to prepare you for the ones to follow.
A doorway leads us through to the Long Gallery, which presents the eyes with the most extraordinary riot of colours and materials. In the centre of the gallery (a glorified hallway!) is a huge glass lamp hanging from a blue painted glass sky-light set into the ceiling. The combination of the hand painted pink and blue walls, tassled lamp fittings and bamboo furniture, present a kaleidoscopic pastiche of the Far East. At either end of the Long Gallery are cast iron staircases, hand painted to simulate bamboo.
Passing between the stairs on the southern end of the Long Gallery, we encounter the first "audible gasp" moment upon entering the Banqueting Room. Even the colour and splendour of the Gallery did nothing to prepare you for THIS! We are standing, mouths agape in a huge, high ceilinged, domed space, the centrepiece of which just has to be the colossal, 30 feet (9.1 metre), 1 tonne, central chandelier. This masterpiece in glass has an outer ring of dragons holding up further lamps around the outside of the main glass canopy. There are four further, smaller chandeliers flanking it towards each corner of the room. As though this splendour of overhead lighting were not enough, along the walls of the room are positioned eight beautiful deep blue, Spode porcelain, standard lamps, the lights at the top of which are again supported by golden dragons.
The lighting merely serves to accentuate the colours and artistic details present in this room. The central chandelier hangs from a huge dragon with outstretched wings. This three dimensional caricature appears to be nestling in some large vine leaves - again in three dimensions and created from copper, standing proud from the ceiling itself onto which are painted further leaves, these being rendered over a blue sky background.
The remaining ceiling and wall decorations are so lavish and colourful that I am struggling to describe them in mere words here. Predominantly red, blue and gold, this room very much continues the Oriental theme.
Incidentally, the table is laid for one (!) of the sweet courses. This answers our query on the day as to why the forks are so small! Needless to say, the cutlery is gold to match much of the detailing in the room.
Adjacent to the Banqueting Room is the Table Deckers' Room. This is a large serving pantry where all the plates, dishes and table decorations were laid out in preparation for the "scene changes" to take place between courses. Conveniently this room is situated mid way between the Banqueting Room and the Great Kitchen ..
..which is an apt title for this particular area. It is truly "Great" especially in terms of size. Here an army of chefs and assistants prepared the King's banquets. Eating was one of George's passions (proving to be his eventual undoing) and was undertaken on an unbelievably lavish scale at the Pavilion. Indeed, it was not unknown for 100 separate dishes to be prepared for the King and around thirty dinner guests.
Interestingly, one of the world's first celebrity chefs Marie-Antoine Careme was employed to cook for the Prince Regent in 1816. At the Pavilion he let his talents run riot, perfecting not only the culinary side of grand banqueting, but also the social etiquette that went with it. Soon after leaving, he began very successfully publishing his recipes.
The King was justifiably proud of his kitchen, often taking guests in to admire its modern fittings and airy working conditions. Even to the visitor of today, the large ingenious automatic spit roast is impressive. The spits were driven round by a system of gears and chains attached to a turbine in the chimney - rotated by hot air rising from the fire below. Also impressive is one of the world's largest collections of hand beaten copper pans lining the shelves around this room. Laid out in pans on the big table are models of the various items prepared here - including a huge swan!
The kitchen forms the southern most end of the Pavilion, to continue the tour we therefore get a second look at the Banqueting Hall, this time on the window side, passing through on the way to the Banqueting Room Gallery, the Saloon and Music Room Gallery. These are extremely luxurious state rooms, if not quite in the grandiose style of the Banqueting Room. My favourite of these three rooms is actually the oldest in the Pavilion, the Saloon. Not do I like it for its rich gilding and massive mirrors and drapes, but for its beautiful ovoid shape and for the superbly painted circular "sky-domed" ceiling.
And so we arrive at the Brighton Royal Pavilion's piece de resistance - The Music Room. Unlike the similarly proportioned Banqueting Room, this one has no furniture as such, nor does it need it! The floor is covered in an opulent hand woven Axminster carpet, upon which we are free to walk. Music was another of George's passions, he was known to sing and play the piano in this room in order to entertain his guests, and what a place to do it!
This is one of the most awe inspiring rooms in the country, simply alive with colour and detail, so much so that our friend commented that her eyes found it difficult to come to rest in any one place. Starting at the top, with the immense gilt ceiling, your eyes are drawn down the highly ornate lotus-shaped central chandelier, flanked by eight smaller replicas, via the beautiful painted glass sky-light panels to the walls and drapes below. The wall hangings in red and gold are actually painted canvases by Crace and a French artist, Lambelet.
This room has an unlucky recent history, falling prey to a damaging arson attack in 1975, being severely damaged not only by the fire, but also the water used to extinguish it. Ten years of painstaking restoration took place and then in October 1987 the hurricane struck! A large stone ball was blown off the top of one of the minarets and came through the domed roof making a large hole in it before becoming embedded in the wooden floor beneath the precious carpet. Fortunately this most grand and colourful of rooms is now restored to its full glory.
The only rooms left for us now to see downstairs are the King's Apartments. In the final re-design of the Pavilion, the King's bedroom was moved downstairs, by 1823 he was so grossly obese that he was unable to climb the stairs. Indeed he wheeled himself about his palace in a "Merlin Chair", a forerunner of the modern wheelchair.
Which actually tidily reminds me to tell you that the ground floor is fully accessible to wheelchair users!
His Apartments consisted of a bedroom, bathroom (sadly no longer here), dressing room and private library. These rooms are fascinating because, whilst attractively and expensively decorated and furnished they are of a far more modest style and practical nature than the grand state rooms already seen. The three rooms appear now to be open plan, the large doors between them being left permanently open. With large mirrors on opposite walls of these rooms a wonderful illusion of infinity is achieved.
We now emerge back into the Long Gallery in order to climb the stairs to view what was known as the Chamber Floor. In terms of guest accommodation, for such a large palace, the Royal Pavilion was fairly modest, having no more than five guest bedrooms.
On display now we can see the apartments used by Queen Victoria during the 1837 to 1845 period. She did not like the Pavilion due to the very public position of it and also because of internal ventilation and heating difficulties. In 1850 she gifted the Pavilion and grounds to the town of Brighton, having purchased Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.
Her bedroom, decorated in flowery pinks and greens appears very much as it would have done in 1840. Also on display are her closet, an inside room with no window and a fireplace, plus her maid's room, similarly positioned with no natural light.
The highly ornamentally decorated Yellow Bow Rooms were originally the bedrooms of George's two brothers. Whilst they share the carpet with Victoria's apartments, they are altogether more lavishly furnished with gold, hand printed, dragon wallpaper adorning the walls.
Running through the centre of the Chamber Floor is the extraordinary South Gallery. A beautiful painted glass sky-light is the main feature here, complimenting the blue walls embossed with trellis work - again simulating bamboo.
Whilst this completes our tour of the Royal Pavilion, before returning downstairs and leaving, I would thoroughly recommend seeking out The Queen Adelaide Tea Room. Not only is the produce on offer here good and sold at a reasonable prices, but this is a unique setting in which to take afternoon tea, either inside or outside on the balcony overlooking the Pavilion Grounds.
Finally, we are unable to depart the Pavilion without exiting through the shop. You can visit the excellent shop without an admission ticket to the Pavilion and the shop is almost worthy of a separate review in its own right. Suffice to say here that it is packed with books, cards and gifts, all relating to the very colourful history of this magnificent building and the flamboyant Georgian era.
BRIGHTON ROYAL PAVILION:
4-5 Pavilion Buildings
BN1 1EE Telephone: 01273 290900
October to March 10.00am-5.15pm (last tickets at 4.30pm)
April to September 9.30am-5.45pm (last tickets at 5.00pm)
Closed from 2.30pm on 24 December and all day on 25 & 26 December 2005
ADMISSION CHARGES: (1st April 2005 - 31st March 2006)
Groups of 20 adults or more £5.10
Child (under 16) and children's groups £3.60
Family Tickets: 2 Adults, 2 Children £15.80. 1
Adult, 4 Children £9.70
Senior Citizens, Students & Unemployed £4.30
Brighton & Hove Residents (1st October to 28th February) £2.35 per adult plus two children free. Take PROOF OF RESIDENCY with you!
The Pavilion is licensed for civil wedding ceremonies and has turned out to be one of the most popular venues in the country for this.
Ok this is all about if you're interested in the Royal Pavilion if you are thinking about going i would advise that you do it before you die such a gorgeous place, and you can even get married there (hope my girl dont read that, put ideas in her head) The Pavilion was done in a Romantic Movement style. This was against his strict rich up bringing. And also against the Neo-Classical movement, which was about bringing ideas by the Romans and Greeks back to life. It was about maths, shapes, and symmetry. The Romantic Movement was about having fun and enjoying life. This got started by Louis IX when he played the exterior is in an Indian style, they have minarets. Indian became fashionable because it was part of the British Empire it showed that Britain was the most powerful nation, back then. There is also Domes. A game in a barn pretending to be noble farmers with Marie. The Romantic Movement was about exotic fantasy. This led to the interest in India and China The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, reflects fashionable tastes in architecture, design, attitudes and way of life in the late 18th and early 19th century. The Pavilion has many exotic design the main interior is Chinese. The are few good examples of this. This was because it was fashionable even though Mainly people had never been to the China, they just designed form what they thought it was like and from pictures. But the Pavilion took things to another level, he took fashion and did not just put then in one rooms like the rest but did the whole Pavilion. The exterior is in a Indian style, with minarets. Indian became fashionable because it was part of the British Empire it showed that Britain was the most powerful nation, back then. There are also Domes. England also did a lot of trade with India. Shilling for non subscribers. Card assemblies were on Wednesday and Fridays. On Sunday they would go to church, visitors would then promenade on the Stein and then t
ake Public Tea at the assembly rooms. They also had the circulating library where people could borrow book and you could drink tea and coffee while gambling, gossip, and sometimes play billiards. Small shops appeared on the Steine, most of these sold fancy goods , and most of then were parlours, which the player would though a dice to win the prizes on display. Sporting activates near Brighton like Cock fighting, bull bating and horse racing. So many of this changed the look of the pavilion The local entertainment that was on offer for the rich in 1796 was ballrooms and card-rooms, supper room. And these were found in the main inns the old ship hotel and the Castle inn. There was a ball every Thursday that cost 3 shilling and sixpence (for subscribers) and 5. This way of life was reflected in the pavilion, e.g. balls which were held in the in the music room. The Pavilion created a new style it was a mix of neo-classical and romantic it was called the regency style. So the Prince did just copy styles he created some The pavilion went though 3 main stages: THE FARMHOUSE This idea was taken from Louis IX when he had a farm house with Marie. He they lived out the fantasy of being a noble village people in France MARINE PAVILION This was done in the Enlightment style. Everything was symmetrical It had that big a big dome in the middle. It was copied the style of the “Pantheon” ROYAL PAVILION The building that you see today done in the Romantic Movement after the regent brought it and changed it. It has Indian Exterior and an Chinese Interior. This is like the Delhi So each phase was done in the style of another building. FARMHOUSE-LOUIS IX MARINE PAVILION-PANTHEON ROYAL PAVILION–THE DEHLI Brighton first became famous when it was on a circuit of health towns. Like Bath and Tumbridge wells Brighton was recommended by Dr. Russell who had his practic
e in Lewes and Brighton was the nearest seaside town. Dr. Russell's treatment involved drinking sea water in the morning (in 1 case a man got prescribed to drink 18 pints in the morning.) They also had to breathe the sea air and dip in sea water. The Prince has a Th yroid so he came to Brighton built the Pavilion with big windows and made it face the sea. So this influenced the design of P. The Price has a Thyroid. This is why the Pavillion was built so close to the sea, for the sea air that was supposes to be healthy. The Prince built the pavilion because it was rebelling against his strict upbringing. Even though the prince like to have fun all the time his was very smart. He was educated in Fine art, Literature, architecture, furniture, romantic poetry, and many languages. He had a lot of difficulty running the country because his dad went mad and left him t rule all alone. The Pavillion allowed the Prince to express himself and indulge in the fashionable Romantic Movement. So Brighton was his escape from the pressure of being rich, and royalty. All the movements involved math and being precise and numbers so there was a reaction it was called the Romantic Movement. This was the movement of doing everything just because it looked right or felt right, having fun. Not making every building/object symmetrical. The love of exotic places. The pavilion changed when this happened from the marine pavilion to the royal pavilion that you see today. This is why the outside was done in a Indian style (Mosque) and the inside was done in a Chinese, these were both exotic and romantic places. THE EXTERIOR Is done in an Indian style because this was fashionable (see above). It has Domes which on mosques and minarets. Minarets we used to call people to pray, they would be towers on mosques that ring to tell everyone that it is time to pray. It wad done in the Indian was fashionable many house/manors had this style but not to the extent.
This trend was started at the Sezincote in Gloucester THE INTERIOR This was done in Chinese/Chinoiserie that was fashionable with those followers of the Romantic Movement. China was a exotic place so it was romantic. Most rich people had only done one room no-o ne had ever done their whole property. Like the prince. Again the first person to introduce Chinoiserie was Louis IX of France THE ROOMS THE LONG CORRIDOR This room is still done in a Chinese style. It was built so if it was raining the could still stroll it gives the idea of being outside it is “a trick of the eye”. It has nodding Chinese figures that were a game you had to run up and down hitting the heads until you had all nodding at once. This was not the popularly because the visitor would have I big meal. One on record was 15 courses long. It was 162 feet long, it has 2 lights that look like the sun. Still has most of the original bamboo looking furniture that are not actually bamboo but beech and Satinwood. The room has a lot of mirrors. All furniture done in. So the rich attitude was that the fatter you looked the rich, also the rich liked to feel outside. OCTAGON HALL Just 1 Chinese nodding figure in this room. The room is under a big dome. It is only a small room. Ceiling in the shape of an Asiatic tent. The roof shows the love for anything exotic looking in the Romantic Movement. And still the faint hint of Chinoiserie THE ENTRANCE HALL A lot of Chinoiserie wall decoration. A light green and grey colour all over and a marble fireplace. Again another lot of Chinoiserie that shows again the rich love for exotic. THE BANQUETING ROOM Artist-designer Robert Jones who started working for the Prince Regent in 1815 created the decorations. The centrepiece of the room is a huge chandelier held by a silvered dragon. The dazzling display of Regency silver gilt is one of the finest ever. Many elaborate banquets were held here
, some featuring menus of up to sixty dishes. I big well decorated dinning room for big dinner parties that the prince loves to hold; the rich loved big meals, but after the women would leave the men. This shows that women and men do different things in the normal way of life. Th e women leave because men are considered higher. This showed that rich people a lot of big meals a lot of the time. The Royal Bedrooms There is 3 main type Bedrooms the Yellow Bow room, Queen Victoria and the King’s. The Yellow bedrooms are situated on the first floor; these were the bedrooms of George IV's brothers the Dukes of York and Clarence. In the early 1990s they were refurbished to the original decorative scheme featuring yellow dragon wallpaper. Queen Victoria's Apartments: these rooms were restored in the early 1990s to reflect the interiors used by the Queen between 1837 and 1845. The suite comprises the Queen's bedroom, the maid's room and a water closet. The King's Apartments: these private rooms are decorated in a restrained and dignified style. Located on the ground floor of the Pavilion, they were used when George IV was hugely overweight and afflicted with gout and dropsy. This shows the different rich people like different styles of living. MUSIC ROOM The music room was the most beautifully decorated rooms in the Pavilion, great balls were held in this room. It was built in the image of the Kubla Khan’s palace at Xanadu. The walls are done in crimson, the imperial colour that only emperors were allowed to use. Again the ceiling is a tent shape, and done in a Chinese style. There are also dragons hanging from ceiling in the middle. The prince kept a permanent orchestra of 70 musicians to entertain his quests. Balls were a way of life back then, the rich would have great grand balls all the time. Also its style is taken from the Kubla Khan’s palace, again done in Chinese style. The Royal Pavil
ion, Brighton, reflects fashionable tastes in architecture, design, attitudes and way of life in the late 18th and early 19th century. Well the Pavilion did but it also to fashions and did more of it then been done. For example the Chinese, people had only done this in one or two room not in nearly every room. Also the Indian minarets building only had 1,2 or even 3 not has many has the Pavilion. This also reflects attitude because it was built and influenced by the attitudes. The Pavilion was built so rich people could carry out their way of life out in the pavilion; It only reflects the tastes of the rich not the poor. The pavilion also introduced some new idea like; CAST IRON the slender pillars in the kitchen was made in cast iron so they could be slender, His also used cast iron to look bamboo this was a new idea. “TRICK OF THE EYE” was a new idea this was in the Long Corridor were the effect of being outside has tried to be achieved also the cast iron stair case (the cast iron looking like bamboo). The Pavilion was the first building to have GAS LIGHTING. None of this would have been possible if it hadn't been for Industrial revolution.
Former royal residence. The Royal Pavilion grew over 35 years from a simple farmhouse to a spectacular palace. In 1787 Henry Holland extended the original farmhouse into a neo-classical building know as the 'Marine Pavilion'. From 1815-1823 John Nash used new technology to transform the Pavilion into the Indian style building that exists today. He enlarged the building and added the domes and minarets that characterise his design by superimposing a cast iron framework over Holland's Marine Pavilion. Other features of Nash's design were less successful: within 10 years the roof had started to leak and concealed drainpipes were overflowing and causing dry rot. After many years of neglect, a programme of restoration began in 1982.