The Painted Hall in Greenwich is a wonderful sight at any time but during their restoration project you can climb a huge scaffolding and see the artwork close up. There’s a massive conservation project going on before the hall reopens in full splendour next year.
What is the Painted Hall? They certainly didn’t spend too much time thinking up the name! The enormous hall is covered in an array of extraordinary art work. Dating from 1694, the hall was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, the finest architects of their day, the paintings were added between 1707 and 1726 by Sir James Thornhill. If that name sounds familiar it’s because he painted the interior of the dome at St Paul’s cathedral and this major commission pre-dates St Paul’s so the Painted Hall was a huge boost to his career. He was paid £1 per square yard for the wall work and £3 for the ceilings and as the whole lot came in at a whopping 40,000 square feet, which would have added up to a reasonable sum – £6,685 apparently. The 21st century restoration is costing £10.5 million so let’s hope this work lasts the 100 years their are banking on! The tour costs are going towards this as well as a great deal of fundraising.