Maritime Greenwich

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The Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich reopens this weekend after a two-year renovation and restoration. At the entrance to the new visitor centre in the old undercroft underneath the hall, sits this backlit copy of a historic map-style engraving of the Maritime Greenwich complex. In the middle are the two key buildings in the Old Royal Naval College, each with their own cupolas – the Chapel on the left and the Painted Hall on the right. Behind, is Queen’s Anne’s House, now part of the National Maritime Museum complex. On the hill, slightly to the right and sitting on (and defining) Longitude = 0°, is the Royal Observatory. The modern day view is surprisingly similar, the main addition being an unpleasant and busy road running between the college and the house. Only in the periphery to the left and the right, has the modern city developed.

The engraving is from the 18th century and is entitled “The prospect of the Royal Hospital at Greenwich on the River Thames”. Its was drawn by Colen Campbell”. It can be purchased in the shop underneath the Painted Hall or at Royal Museums Greenwich. A slightly later version, with an addition of a statue in the courtyard, is in the Wellcome Collection.

View from inside the cupola on the right – viewed from the vestibule of the Painted Hall.

With thanks to the Old Royal Naval College for a preview visit to the restored Painted Hall.


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