The Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich is one of the Britain’s architectural wonders. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1696 and 1751 as the Royal Hospital for Seamen, its spectacular riverside buildings are now a major visitor attraction. At its heart is the world famous Painted Hall which boasts 40,000 square feet of superb decorative painting, executed between 1707 and 1726 by the English artist Sir James Thornhill.
In 2016 the Old Royal Naval College embarked on an ambitious and challenging project to clean and conserve Thornhill’s monumental paintings and ensure their preservation for future generations.
The project, due for completion in 2019, includes a ground-breaking public access component, with a huge scaffolding deck open to visitors to allow a close encounter both with Thornhill’s paintings and with the conservators at work. In this talk William Palin will discuss both the delights and challenges of this landmark project.
William Palin is Conservation Director at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich and is an architectural writer and historian, working previously as exhibitions curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum and as Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage.
He is also a trustee of the Ancient Monuments Society and chair of the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust.