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Music Room

Guide pointing upwards while talking to group of visitors sitting on a bench.

Music and dancing were a key part of life at the Royal Pavilion. Here, Chinese-inspired decoration meets acoustic perfection under a glorious domed ceiling.

Music was one of George’s passions. The King maintained a private band and is said to have known all of its members by name. Visitors to the Royal Pavilion enjoyed grand concerts and George was often involved, singing, playing the piano and sometimes conducting the band. In December 1823, they played in honour of celebrated Italian composer Rossini, who was a guest at the palace.

The Music Room was designed with acoustic perfection in mind – its proportions, domed ceiling, convex coving and hand-knotted carpet enhanced the quality of every performance. The room was also used for dancing, when the carpet would have been taken up and the floor chalked in Regency style with elegant patterns.

Guide pointing upwards while talking to group of visitors sitting on a bench.
Snake coiled around a post.

Lotus plants and silvered dragons

The dramatic interior was the work of royal decorator Frederick Crace. It features rich, hand-painted red and gold canvases, silvered dragons, chandeliers inspired by lotus plants and an intricate gilded ceiling. Together, these elements create an effect that a former curator described as like ‘the inside of a vast lacquer box’. The influence of Chinoiserie is reflected in the Chinese-inspired imagery and the dazzling decorative effects, which became part of the entertainment.

The Music Room was damaged by fire in 1975, and again by the Great Storm in 1987, when one of the minarets crashed through the recently restored ceiling. But after meticulous conservation, it is closer to its Regency brilliance than it has ever been. The carpet you see today is a copy of the luxurious original and the silk satin curtains have been recreated following Crace’s 1820s design. The chimneypiece and giltwood mirror above it are faithful reproductions of the original features.

The King’s piano returns

More recently, we acquired the King’s piano at auction and brought it back to the palace. Made in 1821 for George and the Royal Pavilion, it is elegant but also suitably flamboyant in design, with brass and gilt detail. You can see it today in the Music Room Gallery, adjoining the Music Room itself.

Snake coiled around a post.
View of Music Room.