The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is home to the newly restored Painted Hall. The “Sistine Chapel of the UK” is not an exaggerated description. After a two year restoration, the exquisite £8.5million conservation project of the Painted Hall is now open to the public, in the heart of Greenwich.
History of The Painted Hall
The Painted Hall was part of the great design of buildings for Greenwich Hospital by Sir Christopher Wren in 1696. Finally completed in 1705 as a ceremonial dining room for what was then the new Royal Hospital for seamen.
Greenwich Palace is one of the four UNESCO World Heritage sites in London. It is part of one of London’s most historic landmarks, steeped in 500 years of British history, Known primarily for its naval history, it is considered to be one of the most important Tudor Palaces of England.
Details of The Painted Hall
The decorative scheme was painted by Sir James Thornhill. It was a project that started in 1707 and it took 19 years to complete. The Grade 1 listed Painted Hall is one of the most important Baroque painted interiors in Europe.
The ceiling is a masterpiece of English baroque art. As you walk up the stairs into the main room, the scale of it is overwhelming, and utterly breathtaking. Do not miss this beauty before you walk up.
The paintings celebrate England’s naval power, mercantile prosperity and the monarchy. William III, Mary II, Mary II, Anne and George I join a cast of hundreds of figures, mythological, historical and contemporary.
Walk to the end of the hall, up a few steps to the Upper Hall. Immediately you are struct by an intimacy within these extraordinary paintings. This part of the hall honours Queen Anne whose reign oversaw the unification of Great Britain.
Greenwich is visited by over 1.2 million visitors per year. At the moment the Painted Hall is obviously a star attraction, but a Day Out in Greenwich will fill your day with history, archaeology, architecture and fun. It would be high on your ‘to do’ list if you were in another country. Yet it is right here in London for us all to enjoy and truly appreciate.
Little details for your visit
Cost: £12 adult. Children under 16 free. Uk students & concessions £8.50
All tickets are valid for unlimited re-entry for up to a year after purchase. Tickets HERE
Getting here: Take the DLR to Cutty Sark and it is a 5 minute walk. Alternatively take the river boat to Greenwich and enjoy the sights of London. Check the return times if you want to go back by boat before you leave the pier.