Sir Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpieceFree, open daily
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.
Explore the art, architecture and fascinating stories of the Painted Hall. Check back often as we continue to make more discoveries during conservation and on Painted Hall Ceiling Tours!
Fascinating discoveries were made during the conservation of the Painted Hall's proscenium arch, which we crowdfunded for last year.Read more
Nicola Macbeth explores the connection between the tides and the classical goddess Diana, depicted on the ceiling of the Painted Hall.Read more
Deborah Seymour reveals how an arranged royal marriage turned into a genuine love match.Read more
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
Volunteer explainer, Ellen Barnicle, unwraps the legend of the goddess CybeleRead more
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
Volunteer explainer, Shane McMurray, introduces one of the darker characters on the ceiling - King Louis XIV.Read more
Painstaking conservation work is being carried out in the vestibule, the first part of the Painted Hall that Sir James Thornhill completed.Read more
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
Our conservators are now working on four animated figures representing the four winds.Read more