High ranking visitors
The term Saloon derives from the French Salon, which in turn is itself a translation of the Italian Salone, meaning a formal assembly room. A formal assembly room was indeed the prime purpose of the Saloon for the King. For George, the Saloon was very important, it was his main reception room for VIPs and particularly high-ranking visitors to the Royal Pavilion. This was the room where George would have greeted Royal guests, dukes and duchesses and other members of the aristocracy.
The King’s grand entrance
When entertaining important guests to dinner, George IV would greet them in the Saloon before the meal. When he made his grand entrance, he would have expected gentlemen to be already standing; ladies rose as he entered. After addressing the assembly, he would accompany the lady of highest rank into the Banquetting Room; if there were two ladies of high rank he would offer an arm to each.
The essence of theatricality
The restored Saloon is a room of particular historical significance as it embodies the essence of the theatricality of George IV’s exotic and unique ‘pleasure palace’. It was decorated four times-in 1787, 1802, 1815 and 1823. The first scheme was neo-classical: this was replaced by a chinoiserie scheme in 1802 (modified in 1815). Chinoiserie derives from the French word chinois, meaning “Chinese”, or “after the Chinese taste”, a Western aesthetic inspired by Eastern design. This was replaced by Robert Jones’s scheme of 1823.