Opulent saloon room at the Royal Pavilion revealed after restoration

Restoration of the Royal Pavilion Saloon ('Picture by Jim Holden) SUS-181109-142046001
Restoration of the Royal Pavilion Saloon ('Picture by Jim Holden) SUS-181109-142046001

The Pavilion’s extravagant saloon state room opens its doors to the public for the first time in three years following a major restoration.

In 1823, King George IV commissioned esteemed designer Robert Jones to create an extravagant principle reception room for his palace by the sea.

Restoration of the Royal Pavilion Saloon ('Picture by Jim Holden) SUS-181109-142127001

Restoration of the Royal Pavilion Saloon ('Picture by Jim Holden) SUS-181109-142127001

Now, thanks to a team of craftsmen, restorers and conservators the room has been brought back to life and to its former regency glory.

In keeping with the King’s love for oriental extravagance, the room is awash with gold and crimson and features restored Indian-inspired decoration, furnishings and elegant lighting, topped with an evening sky-inspired dome.

The walls’ hand painted platinum leaf motifs have been exactly replicated in a ‘labour of love’ by conservator Ann Sowden and her team over the last two years.

The red and gold silk drapes were specially woven to the original design, which was tracked down by textiles expert Annabel Westman via a trail of a contemporary watercolour, fabric catalogues, a forgotten photograph and original samples which Queen Victoria had taken from the Pavilion to Windsor when she sold the palace.

Restoration of the Royal Pavilion Saloon ('Picture by Jim Holden) SUS-181109-142100001

Restoration of the Royal Pavilion Saloon ('Picture by Jim Holden) SUS-181109-142100001

Twenty oriental dragons, 100 sun rays and 274 lotus leaves decorate the vibrant carpet under foot, which remains the most lavish carpet ever created by Royal carpet makers Axminster.

David Beevers, keeper of the Royal Pavilion, said: “The room has a beautiful psychedelic splendour, with glorious themes of the sun throughout.

“The resulting design is a triumph – beautiful, vibrant and historically informed and it’s a joy to finally open its doors to the public.”

Sun-inspired themes range from the Chinese ‘Feng Huang’ or immortal bird of the sun decorating the carpets, to ornaments such as the Greek sun god Apollo whose golden figure can be seen decorating the mantle piece in the room.

The saloon room is now open to the public and gives a wonderful allure to the exotic palace. It only deepens a visitor’s insights and interest into the tastes of King George IV. It is a welcome addition, giving new depth, perspective and elegance to a royal palace famous across the world.

The restoration project, which has cost £390,000, has been made possible thanks to the generous support of private charitable trusts, patrons and members of the Royal Pavilion and Museums, the Royal Pavilion and Museums Foundation and members of the public.

The costs covered materials, research and work carried out by external consultants.