Destination colour – going inside Brighton’s flamboyant Royal Pavilion

The Royal Pavilion is an oriental palace in the centre of Brighton, designed by architect John Nash in the 18th Century as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV. You may have heard about it before, mostly likely described as ‘the jewel in Brighton’s crown’ because inside the Regency house are startlingly lavish rooms inspired by Indian and Chinese interiors. Each one is a spectacle of colours layered together. In the Long Gallery pink dominates, but yellows, greens, blues all have a presence up to the deep Chinese red, black and yellow cornicing. On a tour around the house your eyes will continue to be drawn upwards for gloriously intricate ceilings, particularly in the Banqueting and Music rooms – the former boasts several gold dragons elaborately draped around light fittings or nestled high into the corner of the ceiling. George IV was, by all accounts, extravagant in his love of fashion and the arts. In a biography written about him in 1830-31 by Robert Huish, the author said, “there appeared to be no limit to his desires, nor any restraint to his profusion.”

The Long Gallery

A Dragon in the Banqueting Room

Table set in the Banqueting Room

One of the many intricate ceilings – in the Music Room

The Music Room

The Music Room Gallery

When the house was built, it helped to complete Brighton’s transformation as decaying fishing village into a fashionable seaside retreat for the rich and famous of nearby London. Today it continues to be a popular events space and rich source of inspiration for set designers, prop stylists and amateur decorators and it’s easy to see why.

Find out how to visit at Brighton Museums.

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

The Chromologist 2018 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist