The Making of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton


The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, is one of the most famous and opulent royal extravaganzas in existence. First built in 1787 for the Prince of Wales as a neo-classical marine villa, by the time the Prince became king in 1820 it had grown into the extraordinary Indian-Chinese fantasy that it is today.

This study reproduces all of the important surviving designs, for the exterior and interior of the Pavilion. It reveals the great variety of brilliant exotic schemes devised for its construction and decoration. The projects for the exterior include the pretty but chaste designs of Henry Holland and the wilder Indian and Chinese fantasies of William Pordent and Humphry Repton.

The interior designs, executed mainly by the Crace firm of decorators and Robert Jones (all firmly controlled by the king) are often astonishing; they include schemes for whole rooms as well as for individual details such as windows, skylights, doorways, carpets and curtains.The range includes the 'barbaric' chinoiserie of the 1802-04 period, the enchanting 'rococo' chinoiserie of 1815-17, and the opulent richness of the final scheme. The techniques used include illusionistic painting, marbling, faux graining, faux skies - often in a vein of high fantasy. The illustrations capture all the variety, magnificence and luxury of the extraordinary building.

Written by John Morley


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