One of George IV’s greatest passions was music. Here in the Music Room the king’s own band entertained guests with Handel or Italian opera. The Italian composer Rossini performed here in 1823.

Royal Pavilion Music Room Ceiling

A Prince’s Treasure: The Royal Collection Returns to Brighton

Highlights of  A Prince’s Treasure in the Music Room are six colossal porcelain Chinese towers, or pagodas. They were probably made for George in China in the early 19th century. The larger pagodas cost about £100 each. George then spent over £2,000 to embellish them.

The pagodas are decorated with gilded bells, dolphins and dogs, and topped with snake-entwined arrowheads and winged dragons. In the Western imagination pagodas were among the most recognisable symbols of the exotic East. In Europe they were associated with ideas of leisure and pleasure. They are perfect for this room which was
used by George for music and entertainment.

Extravagance and opulence

The extraordinary interior of this room is lit by nine lotus-shaped chandeliers. The walls are decorated with rich red and gold canvases in the chinoiserie style supported by painted dragons. The windows are dressed with opulent blue silk-satin draperies supported by carved flying dragons. The magnificent gilded domed ceiling is made up of hundreds of plaster cockleshells creating an illusion of height.

Tragedy strikes

Photograph of the storm damage in the Music Room, one of the exterior stone balls is on the music room carpet, 1987
Storm damage in the Music Room, 1987

This splendid room was severely damaged by fire in 1975. A full restoration was completed, including a beautiful reproduction of the original hand-knotted and fitted Axminster carpet.

Disaster struck again in October 1987 when a storm dislodged a heavy stone ball which fell through the newly restored ceiling onto the new carpet.

Fully restored

The Music Room has now been closely restored to the magnificent original scheme created by Frederick Crace (George IV’s chief decorator).Photograph of the Music Room in the Royal Pavilion

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