One of the great wonders of British art, normally high above your head, but now there is a chance to get within touching distance.

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The painted ceiling in Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College was painted between 1707 and 1726 but the centuries have taken their toll on the surfaces.

A trial clean of the west wall in 2012 showed the transformational effects conservation work could achieve, and now they are working on a 2-year project to clean the rest.

Now, the room is covered in scaffolding, giving conservators a chance to work on the flaking varnish and paint — and for the public to also ascend up the steps to get close to the artwork.

As with many great ceiling paintings, there are details not really intended to be seen from below, the secrets that painters often love to include — so the tour will show off some of these in-jokes and the metaphors in the grand scenes.

For some the hall is famous for being the resting place of Lord Nelson, for others, it was the backdrop to a scene from the Pirates of the Caribbean.

Tours last an hour, cost £10, and run from April to July each afternoon.

To book tickets, go here.

You need to be able to climb up the scaffolding, and it’s a hard-hat/hi-vis environment, so sensible shoes also needed.

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One comment
  1. Sara says:

    The Hall was indeed Nelson’s brief resting place before his funeral and burial in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in January 1806.

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