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Royal Pavilion, Brighton (1815)

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton. Image: Qmin (CC BY-SA 3.0)

In Week 7 we looked at nineteenth-century eclecticism: the range of architectural styles including John Nash’s Royal Pavilion in Brighton.

One question asked how seriously or frivolously Nash himself intended his work to be regarded. I agree that the Royal Pavilion seems primarily to have been designed for pleasure and indulgence, however it seems from the sources provided in the course material that Nash took the job of delivering the Prince Regent’s ambitions seriously; one pointer is Nash’s decision to plan the building with Humphrey Repton’s garden designs in mind. This wider consideration of the building and its setting working in tandem to delivery an aesthetic whole shows that, while architecturally playful and serious in its intent to deliver fun and delight, Nash didn’t want to leave himself open to accusations of frivolity.

The significance of the adjacent stable complex, built in an Indian style, should also not be overlooked. The magnificence and size of this complex was overshadowing the old Marine Pavilion, and having already demonstrated that an eastern style could be successful, the stables’ design could provide both an anchor and a catalyst for Nash’s own vision for a new Royal Pavilion.

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