The Royal Pavilion that visitors see today was designed by architect John Nash. Three years after its completion in 1823, Nash published a book celebrating his achievement. But why does this book seem to have so little to say?

Nash’s ‘Views of the Royal Pavilion’, 1826

The Royal Pavilion at Brighton by John Nash, 1826

John Nash’s Views of the Royal Pavilion (as it is commonly known) contains illustrations and aquatints showing the grounds, interior and exterior of the Royal Pavilion Estate. Yet in contrast to the book of Repton’s proposed designs, it is strangely wordless. Apart from a dedication to King George IV, a contents page, and some captions, Nash’s book is a series of illustrations without text.

The reason for this is cost. With so many colour illustrations, Nash’s book was expensive to produce. Had it included text, Nash would have been required by law to have submitted free copies to legal deposit libraries such as the British Library and the Bodleian Library in Oxford. By not using any text, Nash was able to save money by producing a book which was not legally considered a book at all.

In spite of its lack of text, Nash’s wordless Views is a vital source of information for our work in restoring the Royal Pavilion. If you wish to visualise how the Royal Pavilion Estate looked in 1823, this book is the best contemporary record.

You can flick through pages from a digitsed copy of the book below.

‘Views of the Royal Pavilion’ slideshow

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