Raise the roof

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

THe pub­lic is be­ing of­fered a once-in-a-life­time chance to take a close-up tour of the Painted Hall (above) of the old Royal naval Col­lege green­wich, ‘the Sis­tine Chapel of the uk’. in Jan­uary, a £1 mil­lion do­na­tion from the gosling Foun­da­tion was an­nounced, en­abling an £8.5 mil­lion con­ser­va­tion project, with sup­port from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund and oth­ers, to be­gin. From April 1 un­til Septem­ber 2018, vis­i­tors will be able to take a lift up to a 60ft-high ob­ser­va­tion deck to ex­am­ine the painted walls and ceil­ing at eye level while con­ser­va­tors are at work, bring­ing the 3,400sq m (36,600sq ft) of dec­o­rated sur­face to life af­ter decades of de­cay. Af­ter the two-year project is com­plete, it is hoped that no fur­ther restora­tion will be needed for 100 years.

opened in 1694, the build­ing was de­signed by Sir Christo­pher Wren and Sir James thorn­hill is re­spon­si­ble for the Baroque and trompe l’oeil paint­ings, com­pleted be­tween 1708 and 1727. the Painted Hall se­cured thorn­hill’s fame; he was sub­se­quently com­mis­sioned to paint the dome of St Paul’s, the chapel ceil­ing at Queen’s Col­lege ox­ford and the hall at Blen­heim Palace.

‘the Painted Hall is one of Bri­tain’s great­est ar­chi­tec­tural and artis­tic trea­sures, but it is too lit­tle known,’ says con­ser­va­tion direc­tor Will Palin. ‘this project aims to raise it to the na­tional and in­ter­na­tional promi­nence it de­serves.’

tick­ets for the Painted Hall Ceil­ing tours cost from £5 and go to­wards the con­ser­va­tion fund, which re­quires a fur­ther £2 mil­lion to be com­plete. Visit www.ornc.org/painted-hall-ceil­ing-tour­stick­ets to book a visit or to do­nate.

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