The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich to reopen in March 2019

ORNC Canaletto View, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich © Old Royal Naval College

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich will reopen on 23 March 2019 after a two year National Lottery funded conservation project which has brought its magnificent painted interior vividly back to life.

The £8.5-million conservation project, supported by a £3.1-million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), has reversed years of decay and conserved the Painted Hall – often referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ – for generations to come.


The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich © Nikhilesh Haval


Designed by Sir Christopher Wren as a ceremonial dining room for what was then the new Royal Hospital for Seamen, the Painted Hall was completed in 1705.

Its vast decorative scheme was painted by Sir James Thornhill, the first British artist to be knighted. Started in 1707, it took 19 years to complete.

The paintings celebrate England’s naval power and mercantile prosperity, as well as its newly installed protestant monarchy. Successive monarchs William III and Mary II, Anne and George I join a cast of hundreds of figures, mythological, allegorical, historical and contemporary.


The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich © Nikhilesh Haval


Angela McConville, Chief Executive of the Old Royal Naval College, has said:

‘We are hugely excited to be able to reveal the beautifully conserved Painted Hall to the public in March. We care for the greatest ensemble of baroque buildings and landscape in the UK and we welcome over one million visitors and students to this special place every year. We passionately believe that the story of Greenwich starts here, on this magnificent site, and so it is a great delight that through this epic project, below and above the ground, we are revealing 500 years of history. Our new visitor experience will, we believe, bring delight and stimulate curiosity for many more visitors and be a place for locals to enjoy again and again.’

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