Saturday, 17 March 2007

The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College

The Painted Hall is one of Europe's greatest banquet rooms. In the King William Building, it has been covered in decorative allegorical Baroque murals by artist James Thornhill.

The hall was intended as the naval pensioners' dining room but, rather sadly, was declared too magnificent for that once it was completed.

The murals pay tribute to the hospital's founders, William and Mary, and took 19 years to complete. The artist drew himself in the picture with an open hand.

At the end of the hall (shown on left), is the Nelson Room, originally designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, then used as a smoking room and now newly refurbished. For a week over Christmas 1805, this is where the body of the great naval hero lay before his state funeral at St. Paul's.

The Painted Hall ceiling by James Thornhill

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