The Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) is hoping US benefactors will bankroll the restoration of its iconic Painted Hall
Two fundraising events in New York aimed at ‘well-regarded enthusiasts in all walks of life’ are expected to raise vital funds for the project later this week.
Organised by a specially launched charity known as the American Friends of the Old Royal Naval College (AFORNC), the campaign includes a launch at the Explorers Club and a reception in The Beresford hosted by New York socialite Sharon Casdin.
According to a statement on the ORNC website explaining the organisation: ‘AFORNC is an international group of individuals who share an interest in the ORNC’s diverse history and it’s broader vision and goals.
‘The AFORNC’s primary aim is to strengthen the ORNC’s international presence and encourage the American public to engage with this leading cultural institution.’
The project has so far received around £2.77 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and a further £4 million is needed to proceed.
The international fundraising initiative comes six months after Hugh Broughton Architects was chosen to overhaul the landmark building in Greenwich, south east London.
Planned to complete in 2018, the project will restore the Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor-designed building and create a new entrance to the undercroft.
Interior murals by English baroque painter James Thornhill – which measure around 3,700m² – will also be conserved.
The project will see the ceiling of the lower hall – showing King William III and Queen Mary II – and the interior of the vestibule – listing the names of historic donors – both returned to their former glory.
A new visitor centre – featuring a reception, shop, toilets and café – will also be created in the undercroft of the hall which is currently used for events.
An earlier restoration phase – conserving around 560m² of Thornhill’s murals – was completed in 2013.
Completed in 1708, the Grade I-listed building – where Horatio Nelson was brought to lie in state after the Battle of Trafalgar – was originally used as a dining hall for retired sailors.
The domed structure is part of a larger UNESCO-protected Baroque complex – first known as the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich – which was transformed into a college for Royal Navy officers in 1869 and opened to the public in 2002.
US fundraising events
Wednesday, November 11
President’s Circle Gathering
Event at the Explorer’s Club, 46 East 70th St, New York City
This major U.S. fundraising event includes a presentation on the Painted Hall conservation project, with 60-plus guests
Thursday 12 November
The American Friends of the Georgian Group
American Friends Reception and Event
By invitation only
Hosted by New York socialite Sharon Casdin, member of the American Friends of the Georgian Group, with a select group of about 30-plus art connoisseurs and guests expected