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Brighton Pavilion, Sussex


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The future George IV first visited Brighton in 1783, before leasing a farmhouse there for his own use. This was enlarged into a Marine Pavilion by the architect Henry Holland, who repeated the farmhouse and connected the two buildings with a domed rotunda. The estate was finally purchased in 1800, and by 1803 the interiors had been converted into chinoiserie. The prince was so taken with William Porden's dome for the new adjacent royal stables that Humphry Repton submitted drawings for an Indian Pavilion. The conversion was finally carried out (1815–22) by John Nash, who retained the building's general shape but threw over it a bizarre froth of cupolas, columns, and scalloped arches, at enormous expense. The interiors were extravagantly oriental and inventive, the Music Room being the most splendid, and the Great Kitchen a showplace of practicality.

George IV's visits to Brighton eventually dwindled, but the Pavilion was used by both William IV and Victoria until she moved much of the furniture away and settled instead on Osborne House. The Town Commissioners purchased it from the Crown in 1850 and used it as assembly rooms. In 1956 much of the original furniture was returned, enabling a restoration closer to its original style, and it now houses a permanent Regency exhibition which includes Mrs Fitzherbert's wedding ring from 1785.

Brighton Palace. Probably the most exotic building in Britain, starting life as a farmhouse. George, prince regent had it transformed by John Nash into an Indian palace between 1815 and 1822. Sydney Smith commented that it looked as thought St Paul's had gone down the south coast and littered. Source: www.istockphoto.com/uploaded by Lance Bellers

Subjects: British History.


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