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From Dalí's Mae West-lips sofa and Philippe Starck's Alessi lemon squeezer design to ancient Roman treasures and George IV's outsized breeches, the eclectic Brighton Museum and Art Gallery houses collections of international and local importance.
Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Originally a stable complex for King George IV, the 19th-century building now includes the Brighton Dome concert hall.
The Museum and Art Gallery underwent a £10 million redevelopment in 2002, involving a complete rethink of the displays and the development of its Royal Pavilion entrance, disabled access and education facilities.
The Ancient Egypt galleries display 600 items from one of the UK's major Egyptology collections. They offer a window into the lives, beliefs, technology and environment of the ancient Egyptians and provide background on the excavation of the objects.
Further exhibits include a world art collection that spans two millennia, a fashion gallery, a fine art gallery with some 2,000 paintings and a large collection of portrayals of Brighton, including films, audio, images and local ephemera. Galleries on the themes of 'performance' and 'body' explore the history of these topics on a global scale.
The Brighton History Centre, located on the upper floor of the museum, is the main information resource for Brighton cultural and family history.
Art Funded works
Among a host of Art Funded works at the museum, Walter Richard Sickert's oil painting Brighton Pierrots (1915), part of the Tate Collection, reflects well the local and international significance of the gallery. Sickert watched the eponymous theatre troupe on the Brighton seafront every evening for five weeks, making drawings in preparation for the final work.
The sense of loneliness which pervades the painting is characteristic of Sickert's late work. The effect is amplified by the presence of empty deckchairs, reminding us that the scene was captured during World War I.
Part of the Romano-British collection, the bronze Statuette of a stag dates from the first century AD. A rare piece, it was discovered just north of Brighton by an enthusiast with a metal detector. An Art Fund grant of £7,644 helped to save the sculpture from being exported.
The venue offers extensive programmes of activity for families, under fives and all other age groups, including art workshops, film workshops, storytelling, costumed characters, tours of various kinds, interactive exhibitions, lectures, performances and evening functions.
The Royal Pavilion, Museum and Library all have their own excellent shops, selling a wealth of books, guides and gifts. Best-sellers include a giant poster of Carême's menu of more than 100 dishes served at the Royal Pavilion to the Prince Regent, railway posters of the 1930s, scarves featuring Brighton's architectural heritage and original wallpaper designs from the King's Royal Pavilion apartments.
The Gallery café, which overlooks the 20th-century Art and Design gallery, serves light lunch and traditional afternoon teas. It is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am until 4.30pm and Sunday from 12.30pm until 4.30pm.
Art we've helped buy at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
Free entry to all
50% off exhibitions with National Art Pass
Tue – Sun, 10am – 5pm
Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays 10am – 5pm)
Closed 24 Dec (from 2.30pm), 25 – 26 Dec and 1 Jan