Making Christmas at the Royal Pavilion
It’s that time of year again where the Royal Pavilion somehow becomes even more elaborately decorated and sprinkled with additional colour. This year the Royal Pavilion has a record number of trees, totalling twenty spread throughout the building.
One of our biggest challenges was how to work in a space as extravagant as the Royal Pavilion! We quickly had to learn that we cannot possibly compete with the Royal Pavilion, we have to go with it. This undertaking took months of planning and two weeks for a small team to put up and decorate every tree.
Over a thousand baubles and decorations were used, many of them handmade by members of our own team. These handmade decorations take centre-stage on the trees located in the King’s Apartments, a tree inspired by George IV’s Coronation, and the North Gallery Tree, inspired by Queen Victoria’s Windsor Castle tree, said to be the tree that popularised Christmas trees in Britain.
Each tree aims to tell a story, inspired by an aspect of either the Royal Pavilion’s iconic decorative scheme or upon an element of history. We have trees that explore George IV’s love of the French King Louis XIV, trees that recreate Queen Adelaide’s pioneering Christmas trees, a tree that recreates Queen Victoria’s festive firework show from 1838 and so many more. Each tree has an element that has been carefully researched and the balance was found for each tree to be beautiful, but also informative.
Conscious of being sustainable, trees have been re-purposed from previous years and moved to new locations or adapted. To match the scale and majesty of the Music Room, we had to buy six new trees, but these came from an environmentally conscious supplier who plant new trees for every faux Christmas tree purchased. For new decorations, our team tried to hand-make as many as possible and new decorations that we had to buy will continue to be used, adapted, and upcycled for many years to come.
Christmas at the Royal Pavilion is never a simple endeavour. Working in a building as unique and of historical importance as the Royal Pavilion presents us with a number of challenges, one of the major challenges being finding locations with suitable plug points for lights!
Alongside making the trees look beautiful, our number one priority is respecting and preserving the building and so we work closely with our Conservation team to ensure that our decorations and trees will not cause any damage or disruption. We also work closely with a number of teams such as Programming, Finance, Curatorial, Marketing, Premises, Retail, Functions and Visitor Services to make sure we get the balance right and that the visitor gets the best experience possible.
Whilst it’s not a simple process, it’s always good fun figuring out new ideas for trees, managing the obstacles that the building throws at us, and spreading some festive cheer!