NASH, John
(b. 1752, London, d. 1835, East Cowes, Isle of Wight)

Exterior view

Royal Pavilion, Brighton

The Royal Pavilion in Brighton is Nash's best-known work. It was designed in an exotic style.

From 1783 the Prince of Wales often spent the summer season at the fashionable seaside resort of Brighton. In 1787, he commissioned Henry Holland to build him a villa with a central domed rotunda and two bow windows on each side. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, the Prince, then Regent, commissioned Nash to modernize the building. Between 1815-22, Nash and his extravagant client transformed the modest villa into an opulent, exotic, dream world, where no costs were spared. Nash extended the villa by a large new room at both north and south ends to make a banqueting room and music room, and transformed the rooms along the garden façade into a series of splendid drawing rooms. He used for this a mixture of Chinese and other oriental styles.

Even more bizarre than the interior is the exterior of the Royal Pavilion. Nash retained the basic Neoclassical villa with its central rotunda and bow windows at the sides, but clad it in a decorative style borrowed from Mogul India with quatrefoil and horseshoe arches, pierced latticing, polygonal piers growing from lotus blossoms, and a busy roofscape of tent roofs, minarets, and onion domes.