For my latest adventure I went on a whirlwind visit to Beautiful Brighton with Ashley!
Ashley did her study abroad at the University of Sussex and was kind enough to show me around! We had a great time and hit some museums of course. Did you doubt me?
First up, is the iconic and stunning:
Unfortunately we are not allowed to take photos inside the building. Which is a shame because it is truly magnificent. The outside is very Mughal (think the Taj Mahal), or at least an English reinterpretation of Mughal buildings. The whole place is this weird but beautiful Orientalist fantasy. The interiors though are mostly Chinese influenced. There’s a bit of Egypt and India thrown in the mix but its primarily China that shaped the interiors.
The building was constructed as a seaside pleasure palace for King George IV. Everything inside is beautiful – I cannot really describe it. The one thing that struck me was how they used light wells in the building. The architect John Nash was very careful to use as much natural light as possible so there are tons of skylights and domes with windows around the edges, and mirrors. Often they used a creamy coloured glass and painted scenes from China on them to allow light to flow through. It’s the kind of thing that is back in fashion now to be more environmentally friendly and green – if you optimise the light you don’t use as much electricity.
After Queen Victoria and Albert opened the Pavilion to the public in 1850 it was used for all sorts of events and parties by the city. It really became important as a rest home/hospital for soldiers – first for Indian Soldiers and later for men from World War I. The pavilion had special text panels about the Pavilion during WWI.
Post-WWII the building restoration was completed. They have a really nice section describing conservation, restoration and how damaging people can be to painted wall paper, varnish on bamboo furniture and gilding. It was a good demonstration!
Pros: It is gorgeous! Nice special exhibit woven throughout about WWI, great location in a park, cute cafe, wonderful shop, friendly staff, easy way-finding, amazing collection, fun for kids too.
Cons: There are not a lot of seats throughout the space. Although they do assist people with mobility issues. Some text panels only had tiny font which even I had trouble reading!