The Old Royal Naval College was one of Sir Christopher Wren’s final designs. By the time the Painted Hall’s structure was completed in 1705, Wren was 72; he never lived to see the interior painted in its entirety.

The Royal Hospital, as the Old Royal Naval College was then known, built upon themes Wren had worked on throughout his time as an architect.

Here are 4 of Wren’s works that inspired the architecture of the Old Royal Naval College.

Chelsea Royal Hospital by Wren

Royal Hospital, Chelsea

The Royal Hospital at Chelsea was, in many ways, a precursor to the design of the Old Royal Naval College. With two wings and a prominent dome, Chelsea was a less magnificent design, but the layouts of the two sites are very similar. The principle player in each design is open space: the central court at Chelsea was developed in the upper and lower Grand Square at Greenwich.

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Sir Christopher Wren saw several major commissions from William III and Mary II before they considered him for the Old Royal Naval College. We can see the same royal splendour in Hampton Court Palace, with its long, sweeping rows of classical windows. Another link between Hampton Court and the Old Royal Naval College is the use of beautiful red brick to offset the stone mouldings.

The Sheldonian by Wren 

The Sheldonian, Oxford

Wren loved the architecture of the ancient Greeks and Romans. He built the Sheldonian in Oxford as a reconstruction of an ancient theatre. The classical heads that adorn the walls of the Sheldonian continue as a theme across the Old Royal Naval College.

St Paul 

St Paul’s Cathedral

Wren’s most famous work, St Pauls shares the opulence, detail and visual drama of the Old Royal Naval College. Wren practically lifted the domes of St Paul’s and replicated them, on a smaller yet no less dramatic scale, at the Old Royal Naval College.

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