This was the central room of the earlier Marine Pavilion. The interior decoration has changed several times since the earliest days of the building.
There is currently a conservation programme to restore the Royal Pavilion’s historic Saloon to its former glory and it is now closed to the public for the final stages of its restoration.
Since 2006 conservation work has included stabilising and cleaning the magnificent painted sky ceiling and cleaning painted and gilded surfaces. Current work whilst the room is closed includes recreating the original silver and ‘pearl white’ wall decoration, installing specially-woven silk panels, and fitting a replica of the original carpet, designed for the room by Robert Jones.
The restoration project will run until 2017 and has been externally funded following a successful fundraising campaign led by The Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation, with generous support from the public, numerous trusts and the charity’s patrons and members.
The Long Gallery
In George IV’s day, guests were led into the Entrance Hall by footmen, then entered the Long Gallery. The Long Gallery linked all the main state rooms including the Banqueting Room and the Music Room.
The walls of the Long Gallery were painted with a design of trees, rocks, shrubs and birds against a pink background. The present scheme is a 1950s reconstruction of the original, intended to evoke a bamboo grove.
The Long Gallery was dramatically lit by a large, central painted-glass ceiling, with brightly painted lanterns for extra light in the evenings. The Royal Pavilion was an ‘evening’ building. The lanterns were not just for light, but part of the whole dramatic effect.
Full of exotic furnishings and Chinese objets d’art, the Long Gallery uses clever decorative techniques such as iron cast to imitate bamboo, furniture in beech simulating bamboo, and carefully placed mirrors.
The Banqueting Room Gallery
This room is the site of the original lodging house and originally comprised two rooms, an anteroom and a breakfast room.
When John Nash remodelled the palace, it served as an ‘after dinner’ retiring room. George IV’s guests would retire into its gracious and calm surroundings to play cards, talk and drink.
Palm tree columns, with cast iron cores, support the upper floor. Today this room houses one of the finest surviving suites of Regency giltwood furniture, commissioned by the appropriately named Mr Fish. The furniture’s fishy and maritime motifs celebrate Nelson’s naval victories. On loan from the Trustees of Greenwich Hospital.
The Music Room Gallery
Similar to the Banqueting Room Gallery, this room provided an atmosphere of calm for George IV’s guests after the grandeur of the Music Room. It would have been used for small concerts and recitals with the carpet being removed on occasions to allow the floor to be chalked for dancing.
The grand piano was presented to the Royal Pavilion by Queen Mary. In a rosewood case inlaid with brass, it is similar to the original piano that stood in this room in the Regency period.