Royal Naval College Painted Hall (England Photo Spot)

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Painted Hall of the Royal Naval College - Photo by Shawn M. Kent
Painted Hall of the Royal Naval College - Photo by Shawn M. Kent

A baroque masterpiece, the painted hall at the Royal Naval College is also known as Britain’s Sistine Chapel, and for a good reason. British artist Sir James Thornhill’s work, took nineteen years to complete and features stunning frescos and artwork painted to create the illusion of intricate architectural features on otherwise flat surfaces. The result earned Sir James Thornhill his knighthood.

Originally intended to be used as a dining hall for the Old Royal Naval College, the space was deemed so impressive when completed that it was opened to the public and only used for special ceremonies. For example, after being killed at the Battle of Trafalgar, Lord Nelson lay in state here in 1806. A plaque still commemorates where his coffin rested. From 1937 to 1997, the Painted Hall once against served as a dining area for officers and trainees of the Royal Navy. In 1997 it was reopened to the public and underwent an extensive restoration in 2016.

Today visitors to the Old Royal Naval College can explore and photograph this artistic marvel. The Old Royal Naval College is open from 10 am to 5 pm, and visitors can partake of guided tours or explore the Painted Hall at their own pace.

(London, England, UK)