How did this stunning structure come about, why did the influences of China and India become part of the English heritage. Who was behind the architecture and the lavish building that we know today. A definite must see if you ever visit Brighton. The architecture is totally stunning.
The eldest son of King George III was a young man when he first visited Brighton, prior to it becoming a hot spot for the rich and famous of the time. It was here he rented a small lodging house so he could take the waters. A growing trend and what was to become a health spa for those rich enough. It was from the idea of Dr Richard Russell of Lewes which took The Prince to Brighton at the insistence of his own royal physicians where he could immerse his body in the salty sea water – (wonder if this was the first type of swimming as we know today!) – It seems he enjoyed Brighton, which wasn’t to far from London and decided to extend the lodge in to a Villa. The Villa was named Marine Pavilion. It was lavishly decorated by the vain Prince with extravagant articles from India and China, items he’d obviously seen now that the shipping from these countries. The main company been ‘The East Indian Company,’ which I will go into more at a later date.
The architect for this stage was Henry Holland. From 1788 – 1810. This photo below shows the improvements made to the old farmhouse which the Prince ended up buying. Henry Holland is also known for working with the Prince on Carlton House. Henry died in 1806.
The Prince was lavish in his furnishings and decorating with hand painted Chinese wall paper, furniture and objects of art. The reason this building took such a long time was due to the Princes’ debts, he always spent more than he had. The government paid off his debts and increased his income and his lavish lifestyle continued with more gambling and womanizing ways.
In 1811 the Prince became Prince Regent due to the ill health of his father King George III who was going mad. This is the true start to the Regency Era. Due to his new role as Regent he decided that Marine Pavilion was not adequate to entertain. In 1815 the Prince Regent hired architect John Nash who had a tough start in life with an unfaithful wife which ended in divorce.
The architectural style John used on the exterior was Mughal Architecture which is what gives the Royal Pavilion its exotic look. In the below photo you can see the changes made, including the extensions added on.
After the the Regent became King George VI, Brighton was still popular to the royals. King William IV and then Queen Victoria used the building until it was decided by Queen Victoria’s ever growing family that the Palace was too small. Queen Victoria sold the Palace to the residents of Brighton in 1850 and stripped all the furnishings thinking the Palace would be demolished. As you can see from the above photo, the people of Brighton not only restored it, they re furnished it and opened it to the public. Many of the original furnishings were returned by various royals over the following years.
I visited Brighton Pavilion in 2013. though I didn’t enter the The Royal Pavilion, I did some shopping in the tourist shop, looked at the gardens and when we walked to the front of the Palace on the road. I was very disappointed that a cafe had been constructed right in front of the Palace therefore hiding its beautiful features from anyone wishing to take a photo.