In researching the conservation of the iron structure that supports the Brighton Royal Pavilion I have found a new appreciation and enjoyment of this unique building.
Nash’s innovation in design have given us a playful and spectacular building that is also technically flawed. The hidden cast iron structure leaked from almost as soon as it was finished; testing the Clients relationship with the Architect. It appears that, as the Prince Regent was known for changing his mind as well as being unable to pay for his fantasies to become reality, Nash prioritised the speedy realisation of this ‘pleasure palace’ above longevity.
Once again I’ve had the excuse to spend time in the Brighton History Centre (currently located above the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, but soon to move to new purpose built building ‘The Keep’, near Falmer). I particuarly enjoyed these drawings in the book Nash’s Views of the Royal Pavilion, not only are they gorgeously executed but technically very useful:
Visiting Attingham Park in Shropshire this weekend, it was also interesting to see similar characters, issues and recognisable innovations by Nash as it was built just a few years earlier. Unfortunately no photos are allowed at Attingham, but their You Tube channel describes the extensive conservation, research and restoration underway. As a Property in Credit, a lot of work is going on and curators working on the current project Re-discovered are encouraging returning visitors to see work progressing meaning visitor numbers are larger than before conservation works began! The current exhibition (on for a year) called ‘House of Beasts’ is very successful and works well with the House and Gardens. Here’s a quick preview by the Independent, but don’t forgo seeing the real thing.