Sunday, September 26, 2010

THE ROYAL PAVILION, BRIGHTON


THE ROYAL PAVILION, BRIGHTON




The Royal Pavilion was considered an architectural white elephant and partly responsible for the Regent's huge debts. The Regent's passion for Brighton began in 1783, when he was twenty-one. Suffering swollen glands in his neck, he was told to try sea-bathing. The bracing air of Brighton was considered a wonderful restorative. Prinnie decided he must have a house there and purchased a farm house before employing architects, decorators and furnishers.

The Pavilion was not finished until 1819. An elegant, Classical structure was first completed in 1787, by Henry Holland. Between 1801 and 1803, additions and alterations were made by P.G. Robinson, adding two picturesque oval-shaped wings, together with green shell-like canopies above all the windows, a feature wildly copied by the Regency. His Royal Highness brought back the chinoiserie style, which had been flagging, after being given some Chinese wallpaper. The Chinese style continued with an illuminated passage of painted glass, decorated with flowers, insects, and fruits.







In 1808 the Royal Stables and Riding House were completed sporting an eighty-foot cupola, with accommodation for forty-four horses. The exteriors were of the Moselm Indian style. In 1815 John Nash began his alterations in the Indian style. In 1816 the kitchens were completed entirely steam-heated. In 1820 an underground passage from the house to the Stables was constructed. Gossip suggested it was for the use of secret amorous frolics, which slandered and flattered the fat, ageing George IV who merely wished his guests to pat horses on a wet day.





The Pavilion at Brighton has come in for heavy criticism, the most notable of which is Hazlitt in his Travel Notes: "The Pavilion at Brighton is like a collection of stone pumpkins and pepper boxes. It seems as if the genius of architecture had at once the dropsy and the megrims...the King's horses would petition against such irrational a lodging."



Source: J. B. Priestley THE PRINCE OF PLEASURE and his Regency

10 comments:

Jenny Schwartz said...

What a putdown from Hazlitt. I like reading about people's architectural follies. And watching them on TV -- Grand Designs and on a different note, The Block. I enjoyed the post, Maggi.

Maggi Andersen said...

Thanks, Jenny. It's extraordinary and well worth a visit, I must say.

Alan Fisk said...

The Royal Pavilion is the most hideously ugly and tasteless object on earth!

Maggi Andersen said...

Wonderful in a strange way, though. I think some interpretations of modernism and post-modernism are far uglier myself.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Maggie,
Great article. I have visited the Royal Pavilion twice and I think it is an incredibly inspiring building. I loved it.

Cheers

Margaret

Maggi Andersen said...

I think it's one of those buildings that people either love or hate, Margaret.

Victoria Dixon said...

Fascinating! I had no idea the place even existed. What a bizarre thing.

Maggi Andersen said...

Well worth a visit if you visit England.

Frank said...

Maggi, I think you got it right - one either loves or hates the Pavilion. Personally, I think it is a remarkable set of buildings, with a unique blend of Indian and Chinese styles, and I love it!

Maggi Andersen said...

I think it's remarkable too, Frank.