REVIEW: Visions of the Royal Pavillion @ Brighton Museum, til Sept 2017

The Verse’s Tamara Stidwell tells us about the Royal Pavillion’s history and design exhibition, part of the Museum’s 2017 Regency Season.

Yesterday I headed down to Brighton Museum to check out the new exhibition of rarely-seen views of the Royal Pavillion, some dating back as far as 1760. Alongside illustrations mapping it’s interior and exterior design, the formation of the gardens and the structural layout of the dome, there’s also illustrations from some of the earliest printed books, maps, plans and even images of the estate before the pavilion, all gathered from the city’s collections and archives.

My favourite part of the exhibition was the detailed drawings of lost servants quarters, from the 1830s by Joseph Henry Good. I am fascinated by secret parts of the Pavillion that existed for the scullery maids and lower quarter of society because I feel they capture the bygone era of the old aristocracy.

On a tour of the Pavillion some time ago, I remember the tale of the tunnel from the Pavillion to the corn exchange which was used by King George himself when, obese and riddled with gout, he didn’t want his people to see how fat and un-charming he’d become, so used the tunnel to get to his horse. If you are interested in the stories of the Pavillion, of George’s lavish and rambunctious lifestyle and the many changing eras that have evolved and shaped it’s history, I would definitely recommend a visit to the Pavillion itself.

Showcased also are digital reconstructions of how it was believed to have looked back in it’s heyday. If you are interested in seeing how the structure of the Pavillion may have initially looked, it is clearly engineered in Colin Jones’ computer generated images, which can be viewed on an ipad within the display. However, I expected Colin Jones’ images to be more interactive*, perhaps with a voiceover to explain different sections of the pavilion or at least to chronologically coincide with the resources to develop a more substantial historical context of the Pavillion’s build.

However, this specialised exhibition would be of particular interest to Architectural or Art students as it denotes the structural designing of a building which is no doubt an iconic symbol of Brighton, of the Georgians and of course, the empire.

This exhibition is free to residents and members and forms part of the Royal Pavilion & Museums’ Regency Season in 2017, which will also include Jane Austen by the Sea at the Royal Pavilion and Constable and Brighton at Brighton Museum.

* EDIT: While not in the exhibition, an iPad is available in the foyer of the museum with Colin’s other models of the estate and includes a voiceover detailing the history of the Royal Pavilion. There is a link to the 3D models of the Pavilion estate with the voiceover on the gallery iPad, under ‘More 3D models’.

The Verse Staff

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