A Royal Regency Attraction

Despite staying in a hotel in Brighton, we’ve been spending the past few days traveling all around the Sussex countryside. Today was the day to spend time in Brighton proper. The city, a popular summer resort during the Regency era, gained fame when the Prince Regent decided he preferred it over being anywhere near his father, King George III. He already owned a hunting lodge and decided to have it converted into a royal pavilion when he was teased about how the stables built for his horses was grander than his abode. The Dome is now home to a theatre.

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John Nash, the architect, devised a way to retain the existing structure and build a palace around and on top of it. His engineering scheme made it possible to create and support minarets and domes to so the exterior looks East Indian.

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Nash also designed the landscaping, eschewing the traditional English gardens appareance in favor of meandering groupings of flowering plants and trees.

Given the exterior, you don’t expect the Chinosierie interior. Prince Charles was such a fan of all things Chinese, nearly all of the decor in the pavilion employs the European interpretation of Chinese and East Indian artistic traditions.

Prince Charles (later King George IV) loved to entertain and frequently hosted guests at the pavilion. While the entry is sedate and calm, the great hall, banqueting room, and music room are meant to awe visitors. Since interior photography is not allowed, these are postcard pictures.

When Queen Victoria decided to sell the palace—she was never comfortable there—the fixtures, fine furnishings and decor were removed. Once the palace was restored to its former glory, most of what had been removed was returned.

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Once we completed our tour of the Royal Pavilion, we took our leave of Brighton and made our way east to Dorset and one of the most impressive locations we’ve visited. For images of our visit to Corfe Castle, see the next post. Ta-ta for now.

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