History Archive > Designs for the Pavillon at Brighton (1808)

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Designs for the pavillon at Brighton : humbly inscribed to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales

Creator(s):

Date: 1808

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Description

Humphry Repton was the main successor to Lancelot 'Capability' Brown as an improver of grounds for the English gentry in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. He was particularly noted for his Red Books. These were produced for each individual client and were made up from a manuscript description of his proposed improvements bound with Repton's own watercolor drawings of the grounds, with his proposed alterations displayed on an overlay. His proposal for Brighton pavilion was no different and the present work "was based directly on the original Red Book, which was sent to the publisher and engraver, J.C. Stadler, of 15 Villiers St., Strand.

The drawings, by Repton and his sons, were sumptuously reproduced in aquatint, mostly in color, complete with their overslips and slides. Stadler himself took on the financial responsibility" (Millard, British p. 245). "Repton was first summoned to Brighton by the Prince of Wales in 1797. Payments were made to him over the next five years for works in the garden of the Prince's still modest marine villa... Then, in October 1805, Repton was requested to attend on the Prince in Brighton... The Prince and Repton met on 24 November.

By 12 December Repton had returned to Brighton with a sheaf of drawings showing possible improvements... The prince was intrigued and asked for a design for an entirely new house. Repton presented his scheme in February 1806 in the form of [a]... Red book, now in the Royal Library at Windsor... By then the prince's initial enthusiasm had dulled; he was beset with financial difficulties and had laid aside all elaborate schemes for the enlargement of the pavilion" (Millard op.cit. pp.243-244).

Repton's designs were inspired directly by the wonderful Indian architecture so ably pictured in Thomas and William Daniell's Oriental Scenery (1795-1808). First published in 1808, the present issue dates from 1822 and may mark an attempt to take advantage of the interest generated when architect John Nash completed his work on the Pavilion for King George IV. Between 1815 and 1822 Nash redesigned and greatly extended the Pavilion, and it is the work of Nash which can be seen today. The pavilion as it was finally completed still owed a huge debt to Indian architecture but was in a form which re-interpreted the Indian ideal in a fashion more suitable to both English tastes and climate.

References:

Abbey Scenery 57 (1822 watermarks) and cf.55; Millard British 66 (2nd edition); cf. Tooley p.207; cf. Prideaux p.349.

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Publication Information

Publisher: London : Printed for J.C. Stadler ... and sold by Boydell and Co. ... [and 7 others] ; The letter press by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street

Language(s):

Pages: 94

Contributor(s):

Getty Research Institute

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-02-22

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