‘Sistine Chapel of the UK’ re-opens in London after renovation


A gallery assistant poses beside a fresco through the reopening of The Painted Corridor, Outdated Royal Navy Faculty in London, Britain, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

LONDON (Reuters) – An elaborate London corridor, dubbed by some because the “Sistine Chapel of the UK” due to its baroque inside and ceiling, is re-opening its doorways after a two-year conservation undertaking.

The Painted Corridor of the 17th century Outdated Royal Naval Faculty in Greenwich is adorned with the work of British artist James Thornhill, which he started in 1707 and completed in 1726.

Conservation director Will Palin mentioned the work – depicting English naval prowess, monarchs in addition to mythological figures – had been cleaned and had misplaced paint flakes restored through the eight.5 million pound ($11 million) undertaking.

“It was very nerve-racking when the scaffolding first got here down as a result of there was this second of wouldn’t it look any totally different from after we began,” he advised Reuters on Wednesday.

“However that second with the ceiling being lit and the colours coming by and the vibrancy, the richness of the portray revealed, it was very shifting I felt fairly … emotional.”

Outdated Royal Naval Faculty Chief Government Angela McConville mentioned the comparability to the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, the place throngs of individuals queue to see Michelangelo’s frescoes, was made “as a result of (the corridor) is essentially the most important painted inside within the UK”.

“It’s 40,000 sq. toes of baroque ornamental portray … a rare achievement … of worldwide significance,” McConvill mentioned.

“What Thornhill has created is a solid of characters. He’s wanting as an instance a spread of issues which might be occurring in Britain at the moment. It’s an epic assertion of the cultural, naval, and maritime achievements of the nation.”

The Painted Corridor within the naval school designed by Sir Christopher Wren reopens to the general public on Saturday.

Reporting by Helena Williams and Sophie Royle; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Modifying by Alison Williams