Conserving the Painted Hall is one of Europe’s largest and most ambitious ‘open’ conservation projects. The work involves a range of conservation techniques and philosophies with visitors enjoying unprecedented access. The ethical and scientific challenges that it poses are considerable.

Join us for a very special evening where Director of Conservation, Will Palin, will talk to leading experts about the painting and the project. Chief conservator Sophie Stewart, buildings environment expert Tobit Curteis, academic Dr Caitlin O'Grady and baroque painting specialist Jane Davies will place the Painted Hall Project in the context of changing conservation philosophies and illuminate the technological advances that make it possible.


Doors open at 6.30pm, with an opportunity to view Thornhill’s masterpiece up close on the observation deck before the talk begins at 7pm.

Cost: £15, £12 concessions (students, seniors (60+), unemployed)
Ticket price includes a glass of wine.


Lift access is available but must be pre-booked. Please call or email Matilde Martinetti to reserve or discuss any other access requirements: [email protected] or 020 8269 4723.


Speaker biographies:

Will Palin is Conservation Director at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and Project Director for the conservation of the Painted Hall. He is an architectural writer and historian, working previously as exhibitions curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum and as Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage. He is a trustee of the Ancient Monuments Society and chair of the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust.

Sophie Stewart trained in wall painting conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She subsequently worked at English Heritage before moving into private practice in partnership with Stephen Paine. Paine & Stewart’s previous projects include the conservation of James Thornhill’s paintings in the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Jane Davies trained as an artist, then completed a Masters in Painting Conservation. She undertook a post-graduate research degree at the Royal College of Art and Victoria & Albert Museum specialising in the identification of original painting materials and techniques in English Baroque murals. Jane has published several academic articles on the paintings of Antonio Verrio, Louis Laguerre and Sir James Thornhill and continues to be the pre-eminent specialist on Thornhill’s painting techniques.

Tobit Curteis is an alumnus of the Courtauld Institute of Art’s postgraduate course in the conservation of wall paintings; in parallel with his work conserving wall paintings and the historic buildings in which they are found, he has spent more than twenty years developing innovative environmental surveying and monitoring techniques, and is a building performance consultant for many of the most important historic buildings in Britain. Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and of the International Institute for Conservation, Tobit is Advisor on Wall Paintings for the National Trust, and a consultant and researcher collaborator for Historic England. He regularly publishes and lectures on environmental and conservation issues.

Caitlin R. O’Grady is a Lecturer in Conservation at University College London where she teaches in the MA and MSc conservation programmes at the Institute of Archaeology. She trained as a conservator and conservation scientist and received her MA in Art History/Advanced Certificate in Objects Conservation from New York University and her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Arizona. Caitlin directs conservation for recovered artefacts and architecture at the Bronze Age site of Kaymakçı in western Turkey.  Her research interests include the history of conservation/conservation science with a focus on education and practice, as well as the preservation/analysis of ceramics and lime plaster, and mudbrick.