Today I went with my coursemates Helen and Rebecca to the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich to see Thornhill’s painted ceiling which our lecturer N. Grindle had been talking so enthusiastically about in our previous class. The building itself was designed by Sir Christopher Wren (the same guy who did St. Paul’s cathedral and basically every other 17th century building in London, being commissioned to rebuild no less than 51 churches after the Great Fire in 1666), and was originally a hospital before it was turned into a Naval College.
It was absolutely freezing:
The painted ceiling was a commission to decorate what used to be the old hospital dining room, with Peace and Liberty defeating Tyranny in a mix of classical history, mythology and Christian allegories of virtues. Apparently it took nineteen years to paint the whole room:
After admiring the ceiling and the nearby chapel, we went to the most adorable little café serving English breakfast and scones with tea and clotted cream. To top it up we were served by this old lady of the sweet grandmother type, walking around with an apron and teapot in her hand. Only in England does it get that charming and quaint.
Had a lovely, relaxing day getting out of the busy city centre! Too bad I completely forgot to look for the Greenwich Prime Meridian though.