Celebrities and surprises spotted in Painted Hall, Greenwich
After a two-year conservation project costing £8.5m, the 'Sistine Chapel of the UK’ will open to the public again this weekend.
Covering 4,000 square metres, The Painted Hall’s decorative interior is regarded as a masterpiece of English Baroque arts. It took 19 years to complete.
The paintings by Sir James Thornhill celebrate England’s naval power and feature hundreds of historical, mythological and contemporary figures.
Here are some of the finer details to look out for:
Sir James Thornhill's selfie
The painter of the Hall’s decorative interior, Sir James Thornhill, was the first British painter to be knighted. When creating his Baroque masterpiece, he included himself among the crowds. He can be found on the West Wall of the Upper Hall.
Queen Anne and Prince George of Denmark
Olivia Colman recently won an Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. The monarch also makes a cameo appearance in the mural of the Painted Hall alongside her husband Prince George of Denmark.
St Paul’s Cathedral
If you look closely in the background of the mural on the West Wall of the Upper Hall, you can see the iconic dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. The Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, who also designed the Old Royal Naval College.
Africa, Asia, America and Europe
This figure of "Africa" is one of four characters found on the edge of the Upper Hall ceiling. Each one represented the only four continents known to people at the time: Africa, Asia, America and Europe.
The Painted Hall reopens on 23 March with a weekend of special activities, including music recitals and historic figures touring the grounds. There will also be a photography exhibition telling the story of the Hall’s conservation.
Find out more on the Old Royal Naval College website.