Inside: Watercolour paintings of the flamboyant Chinoiserie designs at the Brighton Royal Pavilion Interiors by Frederick Crace and others.
One of my favourite weekend breaks is to pop down on the train to Brighton for the weekend. Brighton is a charming and vibrant seaside resort in the UK. It has the nickname of London-On-Sea. And one of its major attractions is the bizarre pavilion.
Brighton Pavilion Interiors
Brighton’s royal palace, with its domes and spires, doesn’t look like your typical English palace. It seems far more exotic. And the palace’s interiors are even more extraordinary, extravagant and stranger than the outside.
The Prince Regent (later King George IV) had been visiting the town on the advice of his physician to benefit from seawater treatments. As he enjoyed his visits, the prince built the flamboyant pleasure palace.
It was built in three stages between 1787 and 1815. When Queen Victoria succeeded the king, she was not too impressed with the royal pavilion. It was too showy for her taste and not big enough for her large family and entourage. So in 1850, she sold it to the town.
The final design (1815) was the work of the architect John Nash. He built the domes and minarets in the Indo-Saracenic style prevalent in India for most of the 19th century.
Now a major Brighton tourist attraction, the royal palace’s beautiful Chinoiserie interior has been restored to the original designs of Frederick Crace.
Frederick Crace (1779 – 1859) was an English interior decorator who provided furnishings and decorations for several of the Royal palaces.
I particularly love the colourful and very flamboyant Chinoiserie interiors of the pavilion. Such as the palace’s hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and beautiful patterned carpets. When I came across Crace’s original watercolour paintings of his interior designs, I knew I had to share them here.
How To Download The Royal Palace Interior Designs
Click on the title above the interior design watercolour you want. A higher-resolution image will open in a new window. You can then click on that image to save or print it.
All the paintings are in the Public Domain and thus Copyright Free.
I stayed at The Grand Brighton, and they had some of these prints framed and displayed in the corridors, which inspired me to share them here.
The Chinoiserie designs
Chinoiserie design is a classic interior design style that is still relevant today. It originates in the seventeenth century as a Western interpretation of Chinese and East Asian Cultures. The word derives from “chinois,” the French word for “Chinese.”
Chinoiserie interiors are characterized by exuberant decoration, asymmetry, a focus on materials, and stylized nature and subject matter that focuses on leisure and pleasure. Chinoiserie is a European interpretation of typical oriental culture.
Design for an alcove between two rooms, with a sofa upholstered in a fabric matching the flanking drapery curtains and the tented ceiling canopy.
Above the sofa, the wall is decorated with fluted golden drapery radiating from a convex, sun-shaped mirror. Drapery frames the sofa recess and doorways. The walls of the rooms on either side are turquoise.
This watercolour is an elevation of a wall with a doorway at the right, surmounted by a painted tablet bearing Chinese characters.
The decoration of the wall at the left consists of a Chinese scene within a circular frame flanked by narrow panels with neutral fields.
Doorways and Corridors
A drawing of a view of a narrow corridor with a doorway at the far end. In the foreground, the wall leading to the area has a pagoda-like canopy over the entrance. On either side of the door is a pair of columns with trellis-work panels between them.
The very elaborate and highly worked designs appear both on the walls and the carpet. The abstract treatment of the dragon slithering down the edge of the canopy creates an abstract scrolling pattern seen in other designs.
Design for a wall section with double doors decorated with a painted design of latticework. Above the doors, a painted tablet bearing Chinese characters. The narrow panels on either side of the entries have painted designs of latticework and narrow columns at the ends of the wall.
This print is of the elevation of a wall, with painted decoration in imitation of stonework. Niches to the left and right contain console tables bearing seated figures of deities. The central section shows a large panel, with an indication in graphite: “sky”, enclosed in the border.
A central niche containing a porcelain pagoda mounted on a pedestal. This is flanked by two places containing Chinese figures in costume. Tablets with Chinese characters on piers between cavities. A balcony with a trelliswork design above.
Design of a section of the south end of the circular room, showing the coved semicircular recess with doors. Window at right.
The walls are hung with large panels of Chinese wallpaper of flowers and collaged birds, the base and mouldings are painted, and the columns are at the recess entrance.
This is a drawing of the rendering of the Salon as it looked in 1802, with the hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and painted strip still in place and the painted fretwork on the ceiling, but without draperies at the windows. A design for a new chandelier in the Chinese style is sketched in pencil.
Below is another painting of the interior of the Salon at Brighton Pavilion. It is not one by Fredrick Crace but is part of the Royal Collection.
Below is a series of five painted Chinese pictures against a neutral yellow background, with pairs of smaller paintings flanking the large central one.
The central panel is enclosed in a painted frame, upheld by a bird with bright plumage—a painted railing below the moulding section above.
The picture below shows a wall with a mantelpiece in the centre. Over the mantelpiece and flanking it are three painted panels with Chinese figures set in ornamental frames against a marbleized background.
Doorways at both sides with decorative devices above them. Narrow columns at corners.
A doorway in the centre, over which is a painted trophy. A carved pagoda roof crowns this with bells suspended from the finials.
On the walls are panels with Chinese figures enclosed in bamboo frames—narrow columns with capitals of fan-like tracery at the corners.
Royal Place Music Room
The north wall’s elevation shows the large organ flanked by columns entwined by serpents. Doors with pagoda-shaped lintels are on the extreme ends of the wall. A section of the carved bamboo cove ceiling is above.
A section of the north wall shows two large wall paintings, the one at the left with a scene of pagodas and bamboo trees, terminated at the top by a coiled snake in low relief.
A narrow panel at the right, with a decorative painting completed above by a winged dragon in low relief.
Two large wall paintings of bamboo trees and pagodas flank the fireplace. Chinese columns entwined by serpents flank the wall panels.
The coved section is shown above on a separate piece of paper, with three lozenge-shaped painted glass panels.
Design for a wall panel, the central area occupied by a large painting of a Chinese landscape with processional figures in the foreground.
The painting is enclosed in a border of trellis-work, flanked by narrow vertical panels and columns entwined by serpents.
The elevation of the east wall shows a design for decorating the five windows comprising this wall. Carved snakes hold the festoons of patterned and fringed drapery in place.
Fluted draperies radiate from a central flower, and vertical folds are on the piers between the windows. Carved cornice above.
Chinoiserie Interior Wall Panels
Designed by Robert Jones in 1810, these panels are in the banqueting room of the Royal Pavilion. The images are from the Royal Collection Trust.
The panels show Chinese figure groups dressed in chinoiserie costumes. In the background, a flying dragon or phoenix is painted in grisaille.
Mother and child.
Chinese family portrait.
If you ever do make it to Brighton, a visit to the Pavilion is a must. The colourful Chinoiserie interiors of the royal palace are even more impressive in real life.
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Other Vintage Interior Design Prints
Don’t forget to check out the other interior and ornamental posts on Pictureboxblue for more stunning prints and patterns.
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