On the sunny evening of 14th June 5 members and their guests took a river boat trip down the Thames from Westminster to Greenwich, where they were joined by the Master and Mistress Constructor, to see the conservation works that are currently under way to the ceiling in the Painted Hall. The picture shows the WCC team having a closer look at the ceiling with the guide.
It was a chance in a lifetime to see the ceiling “up close” from the raised platform that has been erected to give the conservators unfettered access to the ceiling, which was painted in the early 18th Century by Sir James Thornhill.
This was the first time that the ceiling had been subject to proper conservation, and the work involved cleaning much of the grime that had accumulated over the time that the Royal Navy had been in residence, during which the London air had been much dirtier than it is now, and little or no thought had been given to providing conditioned air that was appropriate for the painted ceiling, which is thought to be the largest painted ceiling in the World outside of the Vatican.
Following a most interesting tour round the ceiling works some of our number then retired to “The Old Brewery” public house in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College for a snack and some refreshment.