Brighton Picture Gallery was created, 1867-73, out of Queen Adelaide's riding stables by Philip Lockwood, the Corporation Surveyor. It was the first purpose-designed municipal gallery in the country. (The first purpose-built public gallery was at Dulwich, designed by Sir John Sloane). The walls were still hung with large ornately framed pictures, maybe some of the ones seen here, right up until the major 1998-2001 refurbishment.
The millenium refurbishment was generally hailed as a great success, and certainly this gallery is now a vastly more welcoming space, but the amount of art & artefacts on display, here and throughout the Museum, is only a fraction of what was once available.