The Painted Hall
The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich is one of the most spectacular and important baroque interiors in Europe. Its ceiling and wall decorations were conceived and executed by the British artist Sir James Thornhill between 1707 and 1726 at the pivotal moment when the United Kingdom was created and became a dominant power in Europe.
The Painted Hall is a powerful synthesis of painting and architecture in which Thornhills decoration appears to emanate effortlessly from the interior of Hawksmoors imposing building. By turns extravagant, playful, thoughtful, naïve and politically-shrewd, Thornhills scheme (one for which he received a knighthood and payment of £6,685) presents a vivid and compelling picture of Britains place in the world according to those who governed it at the start of the eighteenth century. The Painted Hall has overawed and delighted visitors ever since.