Re-gild the Painted Hall's proscenium arch

Sarah Duthie by Old Royal Naval College, Greater London


£25,032 raised
284 funders

Funded 8 September 2016

0% funded

117% funded

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.

Five good reasons to support the proscenium arch

Hidden behind the walls of the Old Royal Naval College is one of the UK’s hidden treasures. Here are five good reasons why you should support it! Read more

Reward highlight: gilding workshops

Instructed by our gilding specialists, donors of £200 can experience gilding first-hand in this unmissable workshop reward! Read more

50% funded – thank you to our funders!

We’re halfway to our goal with 22 days left to go. Thanks so much to the 75 people who have contributed so far! Read more

The story of the arch

From its construction by Sir Nicholas Hawksmoor to a cameo in Pirates of the Caribbean, the proscenium arch has witnessed over 300 years of history Read more

Reward highlight: Peter Kent print

Support our crowdfunding campaign and get great rewards. By donating £60 or £100, you can earn a limited-edition print by renowned Greenwich artist, Peter Kent Read more

Symbols and star signs – the arch deciphered

In this update, we look at the symbolism of the Painted Hall's gilded zodiac figures and reveal what they would have meant to their original viewers Read more

Final week!

There’s only a few days left to open the doorway to Britain’s Golden Age. Can you help us reach our target? Here is what we're planning to do with your donations Read more

Artist profile – Sir James Thornhill

Just a few days left to support our campaign to bring back the shine to the painted arch. The arch's decorative scheme was designed by Sir James Thornhill, who worked on this monument for 19 years. We take a look at this interesting figure in this update Read more

Help us go further!

Thank you so much to everyone who donated to our Art Happens project and for helping us reach our target with just over a day to go! Read more

New exhibition: A Great and Noble Design

A display at the Stephen Lawrence Gallery explores the life of the Painted Hall's artist Sir James Thornhill Read more

Gilding update

Preliminary work on the Painted Hall’s arch is now underway as preparations for the project begin Read more

Rewards update

We are delighted to let you know that we are working on fulfilling your rewards and that they will be coming soon! Read more

Gilded arch soon to begin conservation

Our conservators are soon to begin working on the proscenium arch in the Painted Hall – which you supported during our crowdfunding project last year. Why not come and see their progress on a Painted Hall Ceiling Tour? Read more

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