Old Royal Naval College

Old Royal Naval College, The Painted Hall

About the Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College is Sir Christopher Wren’s riverside masterpiece, built in the 17th Century as the Royal Hospital for Seamen on the site of the Tudor Palace of Placentia. The Old Royal Naval College boasts beautiful surroundings & some of the most magnificent interiors in London. The Painted Hall in King William Court is home to the largest painted ceiling in Europe, a Baroque masterpiece by Sir James Thornhill depicting over 30 years of English aristocracy & British Naval Power. The Chapel of St Peter & St Paul in Queen Mary Court has a beautiful interior designed by James ‘Athenian’ Stewart. Visitors to the Old Royal Naval College can enjoy tours of the Painted Hall & the grounds & visit the cafe & gift shop located in King William Court.

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Old Royal Naval College, The Painted Hall Re-Opening

The Painted Hall Reopening

The Royal Hospital for Seamen was designed by Sir Christopher Wren with assistance from Nicolas Hawksmoor. The design for the hospital included a Chapel & a large dining area (The Painted Hall). The young artist James Thornhill was commissioned to paint the hall. The agreed price was £1.00 per yard (roughly one square meter) for the walls & £3.00 per yard for the ceilings, after 19 year’s Thornhill had painted over 40,000 square feet earning him £6,685 & a Knighthood from King George I. The ceiling of the Lower Hall depicts “The Triumph of Peace & Liberty over Tyranny.” Historical characters including William III, Mary II & Louis XIV of France are depicted with mythological figures including Apollo, Hercules, Medusa & Aries inside a golden oval representing the heavens. The Lower Hall paintings depict the story of William & Mary’s victory over tyranny & arbitrary power (King Louis XIV). William is portrayed as a bringer of peace surrounded by kingly virtues. The Upper Hall depicts Queen Anne of Great Britain with her husband Prince George of Denmark. The painting is a showcase of British naval supremacy & depicts the four corners of the known world (America, Europe, Asia & Africa)

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Painted Hall Ceiling Tours, Old Royal Naval College, Royal Borough of Greenwich

Painted Hall Ceiling Tours, Kids Go Free

About the Royal Hospital for Seamen & Painted Hall The Royal Hospital for Seaman at Greenwich was built under the instructions of Mary II. Mary had been inspired by the sight of injured sailors returning from the Battle of La Hogue in 1692 & wanted to provide a naval counterpart to the Chelsea Hospital for soldiers. The new hospital was designed by Sir Christopher Wren & his assistant Nicolas Hawksmoor. The original design featured a large structure topped by an enormous dome, Mary II ordered that the buildings be split to preserve the view from the Queens House (completed in 1935 by Inigo Jones). The new design for the Royal Hospital featured four main wings & two smaller domes. Queen Mary Court housed the hospitals Chapel & King William Court housed the painted hall. James Thornhill & the Painted Hall The young artist James Thornhill was commissioned to decorate the painted hall, the agreed price for the work was £1 per square yard for the walls & £3 per square yard for the ceiling. After 20 years Thornhill had finished one of the largest painted ceilings in Northern Europe at 40,000 square foot. The masterpiece earned him a fortune &

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