The Royal Pavilion has recently completed the restoration and refurbishment of a new gallery space, the Prince Regent Gallery.

The gallery is in the oldest part of the Royal Pavilion and is on the site of the lodging house rented by the Prince of Wales in 1786 and extended a year later by Henry Holland. The rooms were originally the sleeping apartments of the Prince and consisted of a bedroom, sitting room and dressing room. The walls were originally lined with printed cotton with the bed placed in a recess, one wall of which had a mirror from which the Prince could observe all the comings and goings on the Steine. The rooms were frequently redecorated, reaching their final form in 1815.

Photograph of the Prince Regent Gallery showing the Charlotte the Forgotten Princess exhibition, 2012
Charlotte the Forgotten Princess exhibition, photographer Jim Holden

The Prince’s bedroom remained here until about 1823 when George, by now King, moved into the new King’s Apartments downstairs. The King was so overweight that he could no longer manage to get upstairs.

After that The Prince of Wales’s apartments were used as sitting rooms by William IV and Queen Victoria and after the Pavilion was sold in 1850, the rooms were used for a wide variety of functions.

The refurbishment of the gallery was funded by Renaissance South East, DCMS/Wolfson and the Royal Pavilion & Museums foundation. Thr large central display case parts had to be hoisted up the east front of the Pavilion and manoeuvred in through the window, then constructed in the gallery, to ensure no damage was caused by bringing it in through the building.

Photography showing the Prince Regent Gallery exhibition Charlotte the Forgotten Princess, 2012. Photograph by Jim Holden
Photographer Jim Holden

The new gallery strikes a balance between being a neutral space, ideal for all types of exhibitions, whilst still remaining sympathetic to the interior of the building. A good example of this is the lighting in the gallery. Ceiling lamps in keeping with the historic building provide an ambient level of lighting, with supplementary fibre optic spotlights subtly housed within the lamp and feeding off the central light source provide the right levels of lighting for information panels and paintings etc.

The space will be used for annually changing exhibitions to bring to life the building and its history in new ways and present material (often high profile loans from the Royal collection etc) we are currently not able to display.