Called 'the Sistine Chapel of the UK', the Painted Hall is one of the finest Baroque interiors in Europe. Its centrepiece – the proscenium arch – has endured 50 years of dirt and grime and we need your help to preserve it. With the funds you donate, we’ll be able to do the painstaking conservation work needed to make this unique treasure shine once more.
Sir James Thornhill’s Painted Hall is a 300-year old masterpiece, created as a dining hall within Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital for Seamen. The proscenium arch serves as the doorway between the upper and lower Painted Hall and perfectly frames the magnificent painting, The Golden Age Returned.
Not only is the arch a focal point of the hall’s scheme but it forms a unique piece of our naval heritage; it was here that in January 1806 thousands of mourners gathered to see the body of Vice-Admiral Nelson lying in state after his death at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Since then the arch’s beautifully carved embellishments – such as intricate zodiac symbols – have lost much of their original lustre. We want to use specialist conservators to clean away decades of accumulated dirt and experts in traditional gilding techniques to repair and re-gild the original decoration.
This project is one part of a wider £7million conservation plan to restore the Painted Hall at Old Royal Naval College. With your support, we can bring this rich heritage back to life, and help reopen the doorway to Britain’s Golden Age.
Please help us make this happen and get some brilliant rewards in return.