Background to the Saloon restoration project

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The Royal Pavilion was created for the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) in the early 19th century and is one of the most remarkable buildings in Europe. Of exceptional and national importance, the royal palace attracts more than 350,000 visitors a year.  With the completion of the Saloon, all three grand state rooms at the Royal Pavilion, which include the Banqueting Room and the Music Room, will now all reflect their original 1823 design scheme.

The Saloon restoration project, which has cost £390,000, has been made possible thanks to the generous support of private charitable trusts, patrons and members of the Royal Pavilion & Museums, the Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation and members of the public.

The costs cover materials, research and work carried out by external consultants.

This work complements the research and craftmanship carried out by the in-house Royal Pavilion & Museums team including our highly skilled conservators, technicians and historic building experts as part of their day-to-day work.

In 2002, glimpses of Jones’ silvered leaves scheme were revealed on the ceiling of the Saloon, during work to address water leak. The reinstatement of this design in the recess opened up the possibility of a complete and faithful restoration of the Saloon to its original appearance in 1823, as recorded in a watercolour by A.C. Pugin for John Nash’s book, ‘Views of the Royal Pavilion’.

Led by David Beevers, Keeper of the Royal Pavilion, a team of conservators, restorers and craftsmen has now successfully completed this complex restoration project. The painstaking and highly-skilled work has involved recreating the original silver and ‘pearl white’ wall decoration – using platinum leaf instead of silver to prevent tarnishing – installing specially-woven silk panels and magnificent drapery, restoring the original Robert Jones designed cabinets, conserving and restoring the gilded frames and surfaces, and fitting a reproduction of the original carpet. It is the culmination of ongoing conservation work taking place since 2004 which has also included structural work to the Saloon dome and stabilising and cleaning the magnificent painted sky ceiling.

The Saloon will be furnished as it is depicted in Nash’s watercolour of the room from 1823, with the original cabinets designed for the room by Robert Jones, six original chairs and an elaborate pot pourri bowl on stand to be loaned from the Royal Collection, as well as an ottoman which the public will be allowed to sit on.

The restoration of the Saloon at the Royal Pavilion has been funded by donations from the public, Royal Pavilion & Museums Patrons and Members, and grants from The Monument Trust, The Mercers Company, The Georgian Group (FE Cleary Fund), The J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, The Osborne-Wellard Trust, The Pebble Fund, the Royal Pavilion & Museums Foundation (registered charity) and the Royal Pavilion & Museums (Brighton & Hove City Council).

Press can preview the room by arrangement

We will be holding a press event on Thurs 6 September 2018 at 3pm – 6pm. Please contact Caroline Sutton if you would like to arrange a preview, interview or attend the press view or call or 01273 296718.

A selection of press images is available at http://brightonmuseums.org.uk/saloon (login: press / dragons).