Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Royal Pavilion ~ Brighton ~ England

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England is a royal home like no other. It began as a simple farmhouse that George IV first stayed in when he visited the area in 1783. He liked Brighton so much that he created a neo-classical villa, the Marine Pavilion which is still part of the complex. Once he became Prince Regent, he began to add on and by 1822, after he became king, it became what is the Pavilion today, with the Indian inspired exterior architecture. The Royal Pavilion is a large tourist attraction, depicted by the 400,000 tourists and locals that visited the Pavilion last year.
The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England
King George IV and his brother William IV used the Pavilion as the royal residence while he reigned until 1830 but when their niece, Victoria became Queen, she didn't want to live here so stripped the Pavilion of all its' fittings and furniture. She then sold it to the city in 1850 and returned original wall
paintings and fittings and since then Queen Elizabeth II has loaned a lot of the original furniture and objects back to the Pavilion.

The Royal Pavilion
The architecture is not typical in England but it is an example of the Regency opulance and offers some incredible designs and sights that we spent time enjoying.  What is typical in most of these visits, is the camera cannot be used inside so I could not get any pictures of the many treasures that we were seeing. 

Domes on the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England
The entrance fee to the includes a hand held audio guide that gives you lots of information and history of each room and objects in them as you walk through the Pavilion. We toured the King's apartments with the hidden bathroom door and included the bed made for him in 1828. The great kitchen had structural columns disguised as palm trees and a mechanical spit that was used to roast their meat, originally powered by a rotary vane in the chimney turned by hot air rising from the fire.

Unique architecture on the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England
King George IV took a very active part in the Pavilion's unique design and that was done without him having visited those countries. He had a special passion for music and that was an incredible room. There were so many beautiful sights but the 26,000 gilded cockleshells that cover the domed ceiling in the Music Room was amazing, if only I could have taken some photos. The Music Room has been restored since an arson attack in 1975 followed by storm damage in 1987.

Ornate walkway at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England
The Banqueting Room has everyone in awe of the absolutely amazing designs. There are so many unique things to see but the main chandelier hanging over the long dining table is 9 meters high and weighs over one ton. The dragons that decorate the chandelier is the theme of the chinese inspired decor of the interior of the Pavilion, which is combined with the motifs of India. There are several surprises in there and well worth a visit.

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England
The Royal Pavilion was used as a hospital in WW1for wounded soldiers of the Indian corp. Many changes needed to be made for that use and damage to the original building was done at the time but restoration to this oriental palace is ongoing. The details in the royal residence of that time long ago are again becoming as grand as they once were. So much work has been done over the years but as with many of these magnificant castles and homes, ongoing restoration is part of retaining their history and keeping them beautiful for us to enjoy.  If you wish to see more of the Pavilion, click here.

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