The English are masters of the eccentric look (I'm referring specifically to interiors, but many Brits have proven to be eccentric dressers too). And despite the notion of the British "stiff upper lip", they can also be an exuberant people. British history is filled with grand homes and estates that displayed a vibrancy and an enthusiasm that was uniquely their own.
Whereas our American ancestors might have been tempered by their Puritan roots, many members of the British upper class did not seem constrained by such humility. To me, one of the most exuberant British houses was Brighton Pavilion, that wild and lavish fantasy commissioned by George IV while he was Prince Regent. While many of the Prince Regent's contemporaries ridiculed the Pavilion (and let's face it- many of the rooms are a bit, well, should we say tacky?), perhaps old George had the last laugh. The Pavilion is still standing, still beckoning visitors, and continues to influence interiors, albeit on a smaller scale, around the world.
And while the British were ardent fans of Chinoiserie, they also displayed an eagerness to embrace other styles as well. Here are a few colorful examples:
The Peacock Bedroom at Sezincote, the early 19th century home designed by Samuel Pepys Cockerell in the Mughal style.
The Gallery at Syon House, home of the Duke of Northumberland. Robert Adam was responsible for the glorious interiors of the house.
A bed designed by Robert Adam as a Temple of Venus, c. 1775-76. Located in the State Bedchamber at Osterley
The State Bedchamber at Kedleston Hall. The bed was built in the late 1760s.
Recognize this room? It's the Gothic bedroom at Haseley Court, Nancy Lancaster's country home. The bedroom was a collaborative effort between Lancaster and John Fowler.
Image at top: The Banqueting Room at Brighton Pavilion