Painted Hall Project

During 2017 and 2018 the Old Royal Naval College is cleaning and conserving 40,000 square feet of the Painted Hall. This landmark project will return clarity, colour and vibrancy to Sir James Thornhill’s masterpiece. Importantly, the project will also create a more stable environment so that it will be many decades before the Painted Hall needs conserving again.

From April 2017 visitors will have the opportunity to ascend 67 steps to a special observation deck and experience the drama of the vast lower hall ceiling up close. Painted Hall Ceiling Tours offer the chance to discover the painting’s hidden mysteries and learn about the new discoveries made as the project unfolds.

The proscenium arch conserved!

Fascinating discoveries were made during the conservation of the Painted Hall's proscenium arch, which we crowdfunded for last year.Read more

Diana, Goddess of the Moon

Nicola Macbeth explores the connection between the tides and the classical goddess Diana, depicted on the ceiling of the Painted Hall.Read more

Love and Marriage in the Painted Hall

Deborah Seymour reveals how an arranged royal marriage turned into a genuine love match.Read more

Searching for gold at the end of the rainbow

The Painted Hall contains over 300 characters, some of which are still being identified. Simon Davies solves the mystery of one lady in yellow.Read more

From Turkey to England: One Crown, Multiple Stories

Volunteer explainer, Ellen Barnicle, unwraps the legend of the goddess CybeleRead more

Conservation of the Vestibule nears completion

Conservation is now nearing completion in the Vestibule, the first space you enter beneath the Painted Hall dome. Sophie Stewart looks back at the work to date and the techniques used.Read more

Tyranny Personified: casting light on one of the Painted Hall's darker characters

Volunteer explainer, Shane McMurray, introduces one of the darker characters on the ceiling - King Louis XIV.Read more

Conserving the Painted Hall's vestibule

Painstaking conservation work is being carried out in the vestibule, the first part of the Painted Hall that Sir James Thornhill completed.Read more

From Rome to Greenwich: Sir James Thornhill’s copies of Raphael’s cartoons

Why did a set of designs made by the Renaissance artist Raphael come to have great importance in the development of English artistic taste in the 18th century? And what has he got to do with the Old Royal Naval College and the Painted Hall? Our research curator, Dr. Anya Matthews, explains...Read more

Blowing in the Wind: Conserving the Vestibule Dome

Our conservators are now working on four animated figures representing the four winds.Read more