November 2011

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded a development grant of £29,000 to the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich for the first phase of the conservation of the Painted Hall. The money means that plans for a full HLF grant application of £364,000 for the scheme can now go ahead.

The Painted Hall, one of the most magnificent parts of the Old Royal Naval College, was decorated by English artist Sir James Thornhill between 1708 and 1727.

“It is almost sixty years since the last conservation work was undertaken on this baroque masterpiece,” says Sir Robert Crawford, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has agreed to support us in the early stages of fundraising to undertake this major project.”

Sue Bowers, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for London said: “We’re extremely pleased to give initial support for this scheme to conserve the Painted Hall, and we look forward to receiving the application for a full grant in the future."

The first stage of the conservation work will focus on the west wall and is due to begin in 2012, after the London Olympics. It is expected to take around 9 months to complete and to cost in the region of £460,000.  Plaster and paint layers will be consolidated, cracks will be filled in and retouched, old water damage, paint flaking and varnish blanching will be repaired, and the surfaces will be gently cleaned throughout. The project will also offer two apprentices the opportunity to work alongside experienced conservators, as well as a number of volunteer positions. Free learning and community activities will take place throughout the project.

It is envisaged that the long-term conservation plan will be delivered in four phases and over a number of years with an estimated total cost of in excess of £2 million. Subsequent works will focus on the large ceiling painting and window reveals in the Lower Hall, the smaller ceiling painting and remaining walls in the Upper Hall, and the main entrance vestibule and cupola.

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