The Royal Collection Returns to Brighton
21 September 2019 – Autumn 2021
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton & Hove
Exquisite items of art and furniture owned by George IV will return to the Royal Pavilion, Brighton & Hove for the first time in 170 years on 21 September 2019.
Items lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection include majestic 15-foot high porcelain pagodas and the Kylin Clock, an extraordinary golden extravaganza featuring turquoise Chinese lions.
The Royal Collection loan of more than 124 unique decorative items will return to the Royal Pavilion while extensive building work is being carried out in the East Wing at Buckingham Palace.
All the items were originally commissioned or bought by the visionary Prince Regent, who later became George IV, who transformed a former lodging house into an extravagant, exotic palace inspired by a romantic vision of Chinese and Indian design. For the first time ever visitors will be able to see how these stunning items would have looked in their former home.
A collaborative venture between Royal Collection Trust and the Royal Pavilion & Museums this unique project lasting two years will show the Royal Pavilion as it looked before the items were moved to Buckingham Palace by Queen Victoria in 1847.
Keeper of the Royal Pavilion David Beevers said; “We are thrilled to have so many pieces which were commissioned by George IV for the Royal Pavilion to be on display here.
“They are beautiful items with a wonderful history linking them to the Pavilion. We are so grateful to Her Majesty the Queen for giving us this opportunity to display them in their original setting as they were nearly two hundred years ago.”
Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Tourism, Development and Culture Committee of Brighton & Hove City Council said; “We are delighted to receive this generous loan from the Royal Collection. I’m sure many of our residents and visitors to the city will be keen to see these splendid pieces in the ideal setting of the Royal Pavilion.”
Notes for editors
About the Royal Pavilion
The Royal Pavilion, part of Brighton & Hove City Council, is considered George IV’s most exotic extravagance. He first visited Brighton when he was the Prince of Wales and was thrilled to be able to enjoy the delights of the town away from the formality of the royal court in London.
He soon commissioned Henry Holland and later the architect John Nash to transform his original humble lodging house into a palace fit for a prince, adding domes and minarets and furnishing the interior in the most lavish and opulent style.
He sent his most trusted courtiers to purchase beautiful wallpapers and ceramics imported from China and commissioned the designers Frederick Crace and Robert Jones to make his romantic and fantastical visions a reality. The Prince loved Asian and Chinese design and employed the most talented craftsmen to make items designed in the Chinoserie style which later became the height of fashion.
With his love of visual arts and fascination with the mythical orient, The Prince Regent set about lavishly furnishing and decorating his seaside home.
He especially loved Chinese ceramics mounted in France and England with gilt-bronze mounts, Chinese export porcelain and furniture, and English and European furniture in exotic styles.
Many of these decorative ornaments and works of art were removed to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle by Queen Victoria in 1847 when it was thought the Royal Pavilion might be demolished. A lot were incorporated into the new spaces at the Palace, particularly the Chinese-themed interiors of the Centre Room, the Yellow Drawing Room and the Chinese Dining Room.
Over the years some items of original Pavilion decoration have been returned by monarchs including George V and Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth II. Most of the items returning on loan from the Royal Collection have not been on public display for many years, having been in rooms at Buckingham Palace not on the visitor route but used by the Royal Family for charitable events.
George IV’s exquisite taste and opulent style can still be enjoyed in the spectacular palace visited by over 325,000 people every year. The loan of the Royal Collection items is expected to increase visitor numbers and add a new dimension to the experience of visiting the Royal Pavilion.
Royal Collection Trust
The Royal Collection Trust, a department of the Royal Household, is responsible for the care of the Royal Collection and manages the public opening of the official residences of The Queen. Income generated from admissions and from associated commercial activities contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational programmes. Royal Collection Trust’s work is undertaken without public funding of any kind.
The Royal Collection is among the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact. It comprises almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and is spread among some 15 royal residences and former residencies across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public. The Royal Collection is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation, and is not owned by The Queen as a private individual.
At The Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh aspects of the Collection are displayed in a programme of temporary exhibitions. Many works from the Collection are on long-term loan to institutions throughout the UK, and short-term loans are frequently made to exhibitions around the world as part of a commitment to public access and to show the Collection in new contexts.
This display coincides with the Royal Collection Trust exhibition George IV: Art and Spectacle at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace from Friday 15 November 2019.
Explore the Royal Collection at www.rct.uk/collection