January 2016 | Fiona Karn-Smith


Our Research Curator for the Painted Hall, Dr Anya Matthews, will be giving several talks and lectures around the country this year as part of her ongoing work to highlight Sir James Thornhill's achievements.


Sir James Thornhill's self portrait on the west wall in the Painted Hall.

Later this month, Anya will visit Dorset to meet the Friends of Sherborne House where Thornhill executed a painted staircase scheme (c.1718-20) for Henry Seymour Portman, a patron of his work at the Chapel of All Souls, Oxford. She will also meet the new owners of Thornhill House in Stalbridge, the old family manor which Thornhill repurchased in 1720 from the sale of £2000 worth of South Sea stock in the year he was knighted and made Master of the Painter-Stainers' Company. The obelisk Thornhill designed and had erected in the grounds of the house in 1727 in honour of George II also survives.

Staircase scheme at Sherborne House.

Next month Anya will be visiting Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire (c.1701) at the invitation of the National Trust. Thornhill was employed by the lawyer Thomas Vernon to paint the staircase at Hanbury in 1710. The staircase was recently the subject of an extensive programme of cleaning and restoration by the Trust and Anya will be talking to staff and volunteers about Thornhill's work at Greenwich and Phase II of the Painted Hall conservation project.

Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire

In September, she will be giving a paper on the Painted Hall at a seminar on British Murals 1630-1730 at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. Other speakers include Dr Richard Johns, (Painted Hall Advisory Panel member), Dr Lydia Hamlett of the University of Cambridge and Laurel O. Peterson of Yale University. In the same month, Anya will also be be curating a public exhibition on Thornhill in Greenwich in the University of Greenwich's Stockwell Street Gallery. More details to follow on this soon! 


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