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Help save 'the Sistine Chapel of the UK'

By
Danielle Goldstein
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© ORNC/Jigsaw Design & Publishing

The Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich is reaching out to Londoners for help. Their elaborately and exquisitely decorated Painted Hall ceiling aka 'the Sistine Chapel of the UK' needs reviving and they're £2 million short of the £8 million that's required to restore it to its former glory.

Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor, and painted by eighteenth-century artist Sir James Thornhill between 1708 and 1727, the decorative hall was originally built as a dining room for the Royal Hospital for Seamen. Nowadays the Painted Hall serves as a marvel that holds the largest Baroque painted ceiling in the UK, but if it's to continue being admired it'll need work.

This is where the public comes in. By sponsoring one square foot of the ceiling for £75, you can help the ORNC complete the massive conservation project. And once the work begins, visitors will be allowed to scale a specially erected archway of scaffolding to get an up-close-and-personal view of the ceiling, which depicts the founders of the hospital – King William III and Queen Mary II – and themes of monarchy, religion, maritime power and more.

Visit the ORNC website to donate.

Thirsty for more history? Check out these five historical things to look out for in Whitechapel

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