Theatrical in style
The elaborate Banqueting Room is highly theatrical in style, a perfect backdrop to the magnificent feasts that George IV would have offered his courtiers and guests. Lengthy banquets often included up to 70 different dishes.
A Prince’s Treasure: The Royal Collection Returns to Brighton
Highlights of A Prince’s Treasure in the Banqueting Room are a Chinese-looking clock and barometer. The Royal Pavilion was George’s most exotic extravagance. He employed the most talented designers and makers. On the Banqueting Room mantelpieces you can see two of the most impressive examples of European chinoiserie. Both the clock and the combined barometer and thermometer were commissioned by George for this room.
The clock was made by the royal clockmaker Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy. The surrounding design in gilt-bronze, silver, lapis lazuli and enamel paint is probably by the Banqueting Room’s designer, Robert Jones. Both clock and barometer are adorned with shimmering Chinese figures, echoing Jones’s painted figures on the walls. Peacocks perch on top, a traditional symbol of pride.
Mantel Clock BENJAMIN LEWIS VULLIAMY (1780-1854)
A stunning centrepiece
The room’s imaginative design was the work of Robert Jones, a talented artist of the day. His dazzling design included a shallow dome, canopies and decorative wall canvases depicting Chinese domestic scenes.
His spectacular chandelier – 30 feet high and weighing one ton – hangs from the claws of a silvered dragon at the apex of the ceiling. Below, six smaller dragons breathe light through lotus glass shades. The chandelier was lit by oil lamps and candles creating an ‘artificial day’.
A table fit for a king
The impressive table setting is based on an 1826 print depicting the dessert course.
Many of the exquisite displays of silver gilt would have been placed on the sideboards facing the light to show off George’s wealth and status to full effect.
The room is furnished with original lamp stands, made of blue jars of Spode china with ormolu dragon mounts.
On the window wall is an original sideboard, on loan from HM The Queen, veneered in satinwood with carved and giltwood dragons. The collection of Regency silver gilt is the most important of its kind anywhere on public view.