The Painted Hall, Greenwich

Photographer: LA(PHOT) Keith Morgan.

Three hundred members of the Fleet Air Arm celebrate the centenary of Naval Aviation in the Painted Hall, Grennwich Old Naval College, London in 2009.

The guests of honour for the dinner were HRH Prince Charles, HRH Prince Andrew, HRH Princess Anne and HRH Prince Michael of Kent.

King William Court is famous for its baroque Painted Hall, which was painted by Sir James Thornhill in honour of King William III and Queen Mary II (the ceiling of the Lower Hall), of Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark (the ceiling of the Upper Hall) and George I (the north wall of the Upper Hall). The Painted Hall was deemed too magnificent for the pensioned seamen’s refectory, and was never regularly used. It became a tourist destination, opened for viewing. In 1824 a ‘National Gallery of Naval Art’ was created in the Painted Hall, where it remained until 1936, when the collection was transferred to the National Maritime Museum newly established in the Queen’s House and adjacent buildings.

On 5 January 1806, Lord Nelson’s body lay in state in the Painted Hall of the Greenwich Hospital before being taken up the river Thames to St Paul’s Cathedral for a state funeral.

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