The Friends' Summer Outing this year took place on 21st June and most participants boarded the Thames Clipper for a sublime journey to Greenwich on a beautiful day.
Greenwich was one of the ports visited after the marriage of Frederick, Elector Palatine, to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I and Anne of Denmark, in 1613. The Prince, later King of Bohemia, was seen as one of the champions of Protestantism in Germany but after only one year as king he lost Bohemia and the Palatine, early in the Thirty Years War, 1618-48. Frederick and Elizabeth went into exile as the ill-fated 'Winter King and Queen'. One of their sons, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, was born in Prague in 1619.
The principal objective of the visit to the Old Royal Naval College was the unique opportunity to have close-up view of the meticulous cleaning and repair work that is taking place on the ceiling of the Painted Hall. This painting, by Sir John Thornhill, is the largest painted hall in Great Britain.
The group was were welcomed by Brendan McCarthy, Chief Executive of the ORNC, following which there were introductions to the Painted Hall by Will Palin, Conservation Director, and Stephen Paine of Paine & Stewart Conservation Ltd. The visitors then climbed onto the decking for the close-up look at the ceiling.
After lunch there was a guided tour of the Chapel, which has one of the finest 18th-century interiors in the country, the Admiral's House (seen in the photograph, left, with Brendan McCarthy in the centre with the visitors) and the Skittle Alley. It was a very instructive, enjoyable and memorable visit.
Images ORNC, top © thedpc.com, middle photograph by Andrew Thompson, left © Ian Kennaway