Brighton’s Royal Pavilion is an iconic landmark and one of the most extravagant royal constructions in existence. Originally built in Brighton in 1787 by the Prince of Wales to serve as a neo-classical seaside villa, by the time the Prince had become Regent, then King in 1820, the Pavilion had metamorphosed into the opulent, Orient-inspired palace that everyone in Brighton recognises as the city’s most prominent and famous landmark.
Sumptuous Brighton curtains – the Royal Pavillion
This post will look at the opulence residing inside this wonderful Brighton creation, focusing on the decadent curtains of perhaps the most extravagant room of all: the Music Room. The curtains throughout the entire palace revel in the brilliantly exotic influences of India and China, but the curtains of Brighton Pavilion’s Music Room are above and beyond the mere velvet frivolities of the average palace curtains. The interior designs of the Brighton Pavilion as a whole are astonishingly lush and fantastical, and the details of the curtain designs of the Music Room leave no imaginative detail unturned, incorporating the compounding effects of curtains meet windows meet skylights to leave the astonished guest in no doubt as to the Regent’s most lavish of tastes.
The magnificent Music Room was originally decorated with a Chinese emphasis, but was later reconstructed in the Indian style. The curtains, towered above by exotic gilded canopies and mirrors were a contemporary interpretation of the Mogul curtain style. The design of this exquisite room alone took three different decorators and two full years before the Brighton gentry were able to witness the towering windows and the curtains that adorned them.
Decadence in Design
First, the dramatic colours would have made their impression, but only for a moment – until the nobility’s eyes were drawn upward to notice the dragons mounting the curtains’ pediment, their tails curling round the draping fabric of the curtains like a snake. This room was almost certainly used almost exclusively for Brighton evening entertainment, as indicated by the deep jewel tones of the curtains. Never closed, the curtains would have provided a glittering view of the budding Brighton city as the sun set, casting the room aglow in colour. When the music began and the Brighton gentry turned to dance, these magnificent curtains provided the backdrop with their sumptuous fabrics softening the natural edges of the room, softening the mood and adding to the aura of luxury. And as the night deepened and the room was lit by chandeliers, those rich curtains would have provided the blood-red pillar for the golden dragons above, poised to leap from their curtain tower to descend on the Brighton revelry below.
Royalty Needs Luxurious Curtains
The absolute magnificence of this Music Room, nestled deep inside the Brighton Pavilion, is in its complete embrace of the decadent without a hint of apology. Nearly destroyed by a 1975 fire, it is a feat indeed that all aspects of the room’s decoration have been so painstakingly preserved by Brighton historical conservation efforts, not least the dragons and their luxurious curtain tails.