Greenwich Painted Hall Ceiling Tours

Things to do, Walks and tours
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)

Time Out says

Join this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close to the ceiling of the Greenwich’s Painted Hall in this series of ceiling tours taking place while conservators restore 40,000 sqft of the ceiling’s painted surface. The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College Greenwich is described as ‘the Sistine Chapel of the UK’. The paintings, drawn by Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726, are considered to be the greatest Baroque decorative scheme in England. 



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4 out of 5 stars

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For the last two years the Old Royal Naval College has been cleaning and conserving 40,000 square feet of the Painted Hall and its amazing art ceiling was covered in scaffolding to undertake the project. The scaffolding will be taken down in 2 months and until then you can go high up to the actual ceiling at your hand reach and discover the Painted Hall up close on a Ceiling Tour. 

Originally the building was established as the grand dining hall of the Royal Hospital for Seamen  by Queen Mary at the end of the 17th century.
The Painted Hall is one of the most spectacular baroque interiors, which were done at the pivotal moment when the UK was created. It took nearly 20 years to paint it and the result is beyond incredible.

My criticism is not to the paining and the art but rather to the actual tours. Even though they do have powerful fans,it is very humid and sticky high up but on the other hand I cannot imagine they would have a different solution. I keep wondering how the conservators are working there for so many hours. 

Surely this is an experienced of a lifetime when you get to ascend 60 feet and looking at the exquisite baroque ceiling (painted between 1707 and 1726) by Sir James Thornhill up close and in details.

The 50 minutes long tour gives you hidden stories of the creative process of British’s largest painted ceiling with background history; as well we a chance to see conservation in action.
When the conservation is finished in late September this year, it is expected to maintain the condition for another century. So make sure you catch the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see it before late September.