Dazzling splendour

Watercolour by A.C. Pugin for John Nash's book, 'Views of the Royal Pavilion'. 1826
Royal Pavilion and Museums Brighton & Hove

Decorated for King George IV in 1823, this magnifcent centrepiece of Brighton’s famous royal palace by the sea, has been returned to the dazzling splendour of its original interior design. George IV commissioned Robert Jones, a gifted interior decorator, to create for him a radiant principal reception room, at the Royal Pavilion which would illustrate his regal splendour in gold, silver and crimson. Jones’ design featured Indian-inspired decoration, superb furnishings and dramatic lighting. The overall design produced a rarified and stately grandeur, a landmark in exotic design, topped with a towering dome.

A chance discovery

Go forward 179 years, when during work to address a water leak in the ceiling of the Saloon, remnants of Robert Jones’ original silvered leaves decoration were revealed. The reinstatement of this design in the recess opened up the possibility of a complete and faithful restoration of the Saloon to its original appearance of 1823. The completed design was recorded in a watercolour by A.C. Pugin for John Nash’s book, ‘Views of the Royal Pavilion’.

Generous fundraising support

The circular Saloon which is the central and oldest room of the historical Royal Palace, is now awash with gold and silver, and each element has taken untold amounts of historic research to restore the room to as close as possible to the original design. The Saloon restoration project, which has cost £390,000, a sum raised from outside sources rather than paid for by the council.  It has been made possible thanks to the generous support of private charitable trusts, Patrons and Members of the Royal Pavilion & Museums, the Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation and members of the public. The surprisingly modest cost, in relation to the scale of the restoration project, was due to the fact that a great deal of the work was done in-house – an increasingly rare occurrence in today’s museums.

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