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The Royal Pavilion

A Grade I Listed Building in Brighton and Hove, Brighton and Hove

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8224 / 50°49'20"N

Longitude: -0.1377 / 0°8'15"W

OS Eastings: 531273

OS Northings: 104188

OS Grid: TQ312041

Mapcode National: GBR JP4.80Y

Mapcode Global: FRA B6LX.Q5V

Entry Name: The Royal Pavilion

Listing Date: 13 October 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1380680

English Heritage Legacy ID: 481004

Location: Brighton and Hove, BN1

County: Brighton and Hove

Electoral Ward/Division: St. Peter's and North Laine

Built-Up Area: Brighton and Hove

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Brighton The Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text

TQ 3104 SW,
577-1/40/4

BRIGHTON,
OLD STEINE,
The Royal Pavilion

13.10.52

I

Includes: The Royal Pavilion PAVILION BUILDINGS.
Royal Pavilion, formerly farmhouse. Built for the Prince of
Wales (1762-1830). 4 distinct building campaigns: a
double-fronted farmhouse from the 1770s which the Prince's
architect, Henry Holland, added to in 1787-88, refacing it in
cream-coloured mathematical tile; third phase, involving
primarily interior works, of 1801-08, when William Porden
assumed control of the works; fabric largely untouched during
this period, Porden's work consisting of additions to the
subsidiary buildings, the Stables and Riding School, now the
Corn Exchange and Dome Theatre, Church Street (qv). The final
phase began in February of 1811 under the architect James
Wyatt. Between 1814 and 1823, Nash gave the building the
appearance which it has today. Periodic restorations from the
mid C19 to the late C20.
MATERIALS: stucco, scored to imitate ashlar; Bath stone and
Portland stone dressings, recently renewed; the tent roofs and
onion domes were originally surfaced with a patent mastic and
painted to resemble Bath stone; the mastic failed in 1827 and
was replaced by copper sheathing; various other roofs of
slate.
EXTERIOR: East Front: composed of 5 distinct parts,
symmetrically arranged around the 7-bay colonnade of the
rotunda; 3 French doors, each with pointed, trilobed heads and
glazing bars of original design, open into the saloon; these
window heads, inspired by Mughal architecture, are repeated
throughout the fabric; columns in Bath stone have an octagonal
socle, leafy base, octagonal shaft, and flaring, leaf capitals
which terminate above the diamond crenellated parapet in
octagonal pinnacles. The design of these columns repeated
throughout the fabric, applied in many instances to pilasters.
Between the tops of each pair of the rotunda columns is a
screen of pierced quatrefoils arranged in intersecting
S-curves which are formed from the lines of the horseshoe
arches; above the centre bay of the colonnade in the parapet
are the arms of the King and an inscription: "HRH George IV
MDCCLXXXIV". The domed superstructure over the saloon is
supported by an internal cast- and wrought-iron frame designed
by Nash. Transition to the dome by a convex, feathered ring,
topped by a fluted ring, in turn topped by a parapet; ribbed
onion dome above, with reticulated lights, culminating in a
high finial. On each corner of the dome is a minaret,
supported by an octagonal leaf column as below, and rising
from square, crenellated turrets. The range of decorative
elements found in this centre section are repeated on all
elevations. At the far ends of the east elevation are cubic
pavilions with high tent roofs: the Music Room to the north
and the Banqueting Room to the south; in front of each is a
6-bay colonnade, identical in design to the saloon colonnade;
French doors with Mughal-styled heads; clerestory below roof
in each face is a horizontal strip window with lattice glazing
bars; broad bracketed eaves below a crenellated parapet which
encircles the base of the tent roof; at each corner of these
pavilions stands a minaret on an octagonal leaf column. The
ranges between the central saloon and the end pavilions have a
7-window range each and 2 storeys; on the ground floor the
area between the pair of full-height bays is incorporated
within a stone projection of 5 French doors; one octagonal
pilaster between each pair of doors, at corner and returns;
above each pilaster a panelled pier topped by an obelisk; the
balustrade pierced by Gothic quatrefoil panels. Lotus-leaf
parapet continuous across the elevation; there is an onion
dome above each bay. To the north, the elevation returns
briefly before stopping at a 2-and-a-half-storey corner
pavilion, square in plan, similar to those found on the King's
Apartments. Nash's exotic overlay comes to an abrupt end to
the south: at join with kitchen wing a single-storey porch in
a Mughal style abutting a purely Greek Revival elevation. The
latter has a 7-window range; 2 sections of the original
tripartite temple facade remain: the former centre with 8
paired, giant Tuscan pilasters forming 3 broad bays topped by
a pediment; single pilasters mark 4 left-hand bays; roof
parapeted, stacks to rear and right of pediment; over door in
centre of pediment, sculpted Royal Arms; sashes of an original
design; the cast-iron railings attached to this elevation
enclose the south border of the east lawn; similar railings to
area at the foot of the north return.
West Front: entrance under a porte-cochere, square in plan,
topped by an onion dome and supported at each corner by 3
octagonal leaf columns; bulbous finials and minarets above
eaves. Behind, a single-storey octagonal porch with
semicircular projection; all French doors and windows on the
ground floor have flattened horseshoe arches. The centre range
rises to 3 storeys, with a bracketed eaves roof below a
horizontal strip window with lattice glazing bars; minarets at
corners of clerestory and clustered flue to returns; another
stack to rear of saloon dome with S-curved flying buttresses;
oval, crenellated Gothic turrets flank the dome. Single-storey
crenellated wings run from centre axis to returns of wings,
setting back to form a first-floor balcony reached by
flat-arched French doors; the bays in the single-storey ranges
marked by attached leaf columns; 5-window range. Each
2-and-a-half-storey courtyard wing topped by an onion dome;
wings with full-height, octagonal leaf pilasters, continuing
above parapet to minarets of stone; the top storeys of the
wings lit by horizontal strip window with lattice glazing
bars. To the right of the courtyard, the Mughal-inspired
design ends abruptly; the kitchen wing has 2 storeys, and a
2-window range with flat-arched windows and cornice to
guttered eaves. To the north, or left of the courtyard are the
King's Apartments, which run between the north pavilion of the
courtyard to an identical pavilion on the north corner;
9-window range, with a 7-window range recessed behind the
front walls of the pavilions; stone verandah fills this
section, 8 leaf columns, the roof forming a balcony. The
first-floor windows in the corner pavilions are each set in an
elaborate stone aedicule. The north return has a 7-window
range, with end pavilions similar to those already described,
but flush with the intermediate range wall; 5-bay stone
verandah projects from this wall and spans basement area.
There are stacks with gathered flues symmetrically disposed
across the roof; each flue is topped by a minaret-like chimney
pot. At the time of writing (May 1992), an extensive programme
of exterior restoration had just been completed; much of the
stonework had been renewed and the stucco repainted to
resemble Bath stone.
INTERIOR: for the most part the interior decoration was
carried out by Frederick Crace and his collaborator, Robert
Jones. The Outer Entrance Hall has a shallow saucer dome
supported by broad, ribbed coving. The transition to the Inner
Entrance Hall through an apse-like recess opening onto the
Entrance Hall which is square in plan; clerestory with painted
glass fills above recess, the lintel below supported by a pair
of octagonal leaf columns; scalloped drip moulding decorated
with palm leaves forms a continuous cornice to the walls;
marble chimneypiece is the only one to survive in situ and was
carved by Richard Westmacott. To the east, the Chinese
Gallery, of 7 bays, connecting all rooms along the ground
floor and dating to 1815; at either end a cast-iron, U-plan
stair designed and painted to resemble bamboo. Cast-iron
skylights to centre bay and above each stair. Bays 3 and 5
open onto rectangular recesses which form baffle entrances to
the North and South Drawing Rooms. Access to the Banqueting
Room and Music Room through flat-arched opening in the centre
of each flight of stairs in the Chinese Gallery. Banqueting
and Music Rooms have identical plans: square, with rectangular
recesses to north and south, the ceiling between the recess
and the entablature (which forms the base to flattened basket
arches supporting the saucer dome) are convex coves, imitating
hung fabric and bamboo. Banqueting Room: great chandelier lit
by gas in 1821, suspended by a Chinese dragon carved in wood,
above which are plantain leaves, which hid the original gas
registers. The decoration of the lower walls with
"orientalising" scenes and motifs carried out by Robert Jones.
Concave canopy over each door. Each French door to the east
verandah set in a recess. Stone chimneypieces of mid C19 in
the north and south walls. Cornice around the room consists of
trilobed valence and acanthus parapet. Tympanum of each basket
arch filled with clerestory window of painted glass.
Rectangular serving room to the south with marble chimneypiece
is lit by an oval skylight; cupboard room to the west. Further
to the south is the kitchen, with 4 iron columns cast to
resemble bamboo shafts topped by palm leaves; original kitchen
features in situ; interior completed in 1816. The South
Drawing Room reached through a door in the north-east corner
of the Banqueting Room: rectangular in plan, with bay to east,
the latter having quadrant corners. This room marks the extent
of the entire ground floor of the original house on the site;
on the line of its outer wall, removed for the broad bay with
French doors, are 2 palm tree columns. This single room formed
in 1801; a Crace decorative scheme of 1815 replaced by the
current scheme in 1821. The only features to survive from 1815
are the white marble chimneypieces in the west wall, flanking
a shallow, flat-arched recess. Flat-arched door leads to
Holland's saloon, entered by semicircular pilastered niches to
the north and south; shallow saucer dome; scheme dates to
1821-23. The North Drawing Room is identical in plan to the
South Drawing Room, and was formed in 1802 as the Eating Room
and Library; current scheme dates to 1821. The Music Room:
painted organ case in north recess; painted canvas stretched
on walls, completed 1817-1822/3 by Jones. To the west are the
King's Apartments, a suite of 3 rooms connected by wide double
doors and completed in 1821-22; all rooms rectangular in plan,
with recess for State Bed, coved recesses and round-arched
niches. North Gallery on the first floor created in 1815,
toplit, once gave access to the principal bedrooms and was
decorated in the Chinese style; now plain, it is called the
North Lobby. Queen Victoria's bedroom and related apartments
above the entrance range are under restoration. Between 1825
and his death George IV visited the Pavilion only once. Queen
Victoria stayed often between 1837 and 1845. She announced the
sale of the Pavilion to pay for works to Buckingham Palace in
1846. A local committee was formed to purchase the Pavilion
for the Borough, which transfer was approved in 1850. The
Royal Chapel and buildings to the south were then demolished
and the land sold. Put to various municipal uses. As early as
1863 there were attempts to acquire furniture sold by the
Queen in the late 1840s. All of main rooms now open to the
public with the exception of the Red Drawing Room. For a
complete description and history of the fabric, see Dinkel,
1983.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the Prince of Wales first came to Brighton in
1783, staying with his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland in Grove
House, a brick building which stood on the site of the present
Music Room. In 1786, one year after his secret marriage to Mrs
Fitzherbert, the Prince took the lease on a farmhouse built in
the 1770s and owned by Thomas Kemp; this structure -- a
double-fronted building of 2 storeys and 3-window range, with
2 full-height canted bays to Old Steine -- can still be seen
through later alterations, in the south range of the present
east front. The second phase of the building began in the
summer of 1787, when the Prince instructed Henry Holland, his
architect for the grand works at Carlton House, to enlarge the
premises. Holland duplicated the 2-bayed farmhouse to the
north, connecting the 2 sections by the Saloon, a domed
rotunda with a circular colonnade; at the rear he constructed
a long corridor, which would later form the basis for the
current Chinese Gallery of 1815 and 1822. The saloon, with
shallow domed ceiling, is extant, though overlaid by Nash's
Mughal-inspired decoration. Holland also converted the canted
bays of the farmhouse into segmental ones. To the rear, or
west elevation Holland built 2 projecting wings, each
pedimented; on axis with the rotunda he constructed a
tetrastyle portico in the Ionic order with a pediment above.
The rough outline of this U-shaped courtyard can still be seen
under Nash's additions. The Prince and Holland planned to
erect a wing to the south, similar to that on the north and
containing the King's apartments; this was never completed. At
the end of Holland's works in 1788, the structure was named
the "Marine Pavilion".
Absent from Brighton between 1796 and 1800, the Prince
commissioned no new works until July of 1801, when Holland
proposed to sheath his earlier works in Chinese ornament; only
interior decorations in this manner were carried out, being
completed in 1804. Between 1801 and 1804 the firm of Crace was
first employed on the interior decoration. There are no
architectural remains of the first "oriental" phase. Holland
also added 2 new wings to the east elevation; these projecting
at obtuse angles towards the Steine; although replaced by the
Music and Banqueting rooms, these rooms would mark the
furthest extent of the east elevation. In 1803 Porden replaced
Holland and made plans to continue the "exoticisation" of the
exterior. In 1805 Humphry Repton was called in to landscape
the grounds. The idea for redesigning the Marine Pavilion as
an Indian palace can be dated to the years 1803-05, during the
Porden-Repton collaboration.
The final phase of the building commenced when the Prince was
made Regent in February of 1811. Nothing is known of the plans
made by James Wyatt, nor does any trace of Nash's work between
1813-15 survive. The first work of what would prove to be the
final scheme was the expansion of Holland's west corridor into
the long Chinese Gallery, beginning in January of 1815 and
completed before the end of the year along with the Inner
Entrance Hall. The 2 bedroom storeys above the Entrance Hall
were added before 1819. In the years between 1815 and 1820,
the west courtyard was partly filled in with service rooms and
stairs. The kitchen wing to the south was completed next,
between 1816 and 1818. In 1817, Holland's angled bays were
replaced by the box-like pavilions containing the Music and
Banqueting Rooms. During the following summer Nash erected the
great onion dome which dominates the east elevation and is
flanked, to the west, by a pair of crenellated, oval towers.
In 1819 the Bath stone window tracery and leaf columns were
added, and by the end of the year, the east front assumed the
appearance which it has today. In the same year, Holland's
portico on the west elevation was replaced by the domed
porte-cochere with octagonal vestibule, or Outer Entrance
Hall, behind. Nash then constructed the pavilioned King's
Apartments, incorporating Holland's north courtyard wing; this
and the stone verandah on the west elevation were completed by
the close of 1820. When the newly crowned George IV took up
residence in the now Royal Pavilion on 2 January of 1821, only
the decoration of his apartments and the Red Drawing Room (not
open for inspection at the time of writing) remained to be
done. All was completed by the summer of 1823.
(The Royal Pavilion - Brighton: Dinkel J: LONDON: 1983-).


Listing NGR: TQ3127304188

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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