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The ‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ reopens in London after £8.5m restoration

Greenwich’s Painted Hall will reopen to the public this weekend following an £8.5m restoration of its early 18th-century fresco-covered ceilings.

Sir James Thornhill spent nearly 20 years creating the Baroque maritime scenes that cover 40,000 sq ft of ceiling and walls of the room, which sits inside the Old Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

 

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Its elaborate frescoes have been cleaned and returned to their original vibrancy as part of the two-year project. The Painted Hall’s grand reopening is part of the wider transformation of the vaulted Sir King William Undercroft, which lies beneath the room.

It has been reborn as a new visitor centre, Sackler Gallery and cafe, designed by practice Hugh Broughton Architects.

The freshly restored Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College
Photography: Rosella Degori for The Spaces
The freshly restored Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College
Photography: Nikhilesh Haval

Read next: London’s Pitzhanger Manor opens with a bumper Anish Kapoor exhibition

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