From Buckingham Palace to the Royal Pavilion: The Royal Collection Returns to Brighton
21 September 2019 – Autumn 2021
The Royal Pavilion, Brighton & Hove
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
For immediate use
Spectacular items of art and furniture owned by George IV have been unveiled for the first time in 170 years in the Royal Pavilion today (20 Sept 2019).
Items lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection include majestic 15-foot high porcelain pagodas, exquisite Chinese nodding figurines and the impressive dragon fire fenders.
The Royal Collection loan of more than 120 unique decorative items has been returned to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton & Hove 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 so thrilled to have these exquisite items on display to the public in the Royal Pavilion after more than 170 years. They have been on an incredible journey – many items have travelled from China and Europe to Brighton and then Buckingham Palace thanks to the intervention of Queen Victoria. There are wonderful stories surrounding each item and their significance to King George IV.
“Their return to the Royal Pavilion in Brighton where they were originally intended is of huge historical value to us. We are extremely grateful to Her Majesty The Queen for her generous loan of so many important items.
“The return of the items has taken months of collaboration with the Royal Collection Trust who have given us huge support with the installation and display of these major works of decorative art.”
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 Her Majesty The Queen 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.”
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.
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
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