The Painted Hall has been referred to as the ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ – its vast decorated interior, extending to 4,000 square metres, is the masterpiece of English baroque art. The £8.5 million conservation project, supported by a £3.1-million grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, has reversed years of decay and conserved the Painted Hall for generations to come. Its reopening is part of a major transformation project by Hugh Broughton Architects – with conservation advice from the College’s Surveyor of the Fabric, Martin Ashley Architects.
The reopening of the Painted Hall sees the introduction of a new visitor experience at the Old Royal Naval College. Visitors will be able to enjoy a guided or self-guided tour of the extensive site. The tour will take in all aspects of Sir Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece including the famous Water Gate, Grand Square and Chapel, the newly refurbished King William Undercroft and the new Sackler Gallery, which houses new interpretation materials explaining the history of the Painted Hall and how Thornhill created his masterpiece.
From the Undercroft, visitors will be able to pick up a new multimedia guide for the Painted Hall, which will provide an informative introduction to the paintings conceived and executed by the British artist Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726.
For more information about the 500 Years of History and Painted Hall Tour and how to book, visit onrc.org