Celebrated, Forgotten and Remembered:
Sir James Thornhill and the Legacy of the Painted Hall
Dr Anya Matthews will discuss the Painted Hall, Greenwich (1707-26) at the annual Wren Talk in St Bride’s Fleet Street on Wednesday 28th June. Dr Matthews is Research Curator for the Painted Hall conservation project at the Old Royal Naval College.
Greenwich Hospital was established at Queen Mary’s instigation in 1694 and designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor. Wren took inspiration for this new complex of buildings from other early modern European projects to house sick and injured military veterans.
The Painted Hall at its heart today embodies centuries of national and collective memory including such events as the lying-in-state of Nelson in 1806. But what of Sir James Thornhill, the artist who designed and executed the extraordinary wall and ceiling painting that adorn the building?
Thornhill was hailed in his day as ‘Our Ingenious Countryman’ for his achievements as a grand-scale decorative painter and was the first British artist to receive a knighthood.
As mural paintings fell out of fashion, however, Thornhill became a marginalized figure and it is only in the last few decades that art historians have started to retrieve him from relative obscurity.
As part of an ambitious conservation project members of the public now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see Thornhill’s paintings at close quarters from a visitor observation deck. Painted Hall Project
Paul Finch, Director of the World Architecture Festival will introduce the topic and facilitate the audience Q&A session.
For tickets and for further information, please visit: St Brides