The Royal Pavilion Saloon carpet

Rolling up the original Saloon carpet
Rolling up the original Saloon carpet

If you visited the Royal Pavilion last week, you may have spotted a piece of the original Saloon carpet in the Music Room. Long held in storage, this piece of carpet  is on loan to us from HM The Queen.

This hand-knotted carpet has been re-assembled from fragments of the original carpet commissioned by King George IV, designed by Robert Jones, and made by Samuel Whitty of Axminster, Devon, for the Saloon in 1822. It consists of four quarters stitched together as a rectangle. Sadly, the centrepiece of the original design was cut out when the carpet was removed from the Saloon between 1845 and 1847 after Queen Victoria’s decision to sell the Royal Pavilion. Parts were used at Buckingham Palace, but this is the only section to survive.

Aquatint showing the Royal Pavilion Saloon, 1824
Aquatint showing the Royal Pavilion Saloon, 1824

The Saloon carpet was the finest of the three famous hand-knotted carpets made for the Banqueting Room, Music Room, and Saloon by Whitty’s of Axminster. The Music Room carpet was reconstructed in 1986 and we are seeking sponsorship for the recreation of the Saloon carpet. This faded and mutilated fragment, which includes a border taken from another carpet, provides vital evidence for making a replica of the original. When reinstated in the Saloon, together with remade curtains in ‘His Majesty’s geranium and gold colour silk’, the carpet will provide that element of voluptuous comfort for which the Pavilion was famous.

2 Responses

  1. Stephen Conrad

    Photographs of both Music Room and Saloon fragments were published in C.E.C. Tattersall’s ‘A History of British Carpets’ 1934, but of course in black and white. Annoyingly they have never been photographed in colour! A drawing for the Saloon carpet by Jones, once in the position of a member of the Whitty family, failed to get reproduced in John Morley’s 1984 book ‘The Making of the Royal Pavilion’. I recall it was reproduced in a book on carpets I think published by Lewis, but frustratingly I can’t recall the author. I wonder where that drawing now is?

  2. Stephen Conrad

    I have just remembered it was reproduced in Bertram Jacobs book on ‘Axminster Carpets 1755-1857’ published in 1970.

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