The Painted Hall Ceiling Tour

 It is one of the biggest conservation projects in Europe and Britain's largest painted ceiling by British artist Sir James Thornhill, who undertook the work from 1707 - 1726.

We took the painted hall ceiling tour at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich to get up close to the work that is being undetaken by a team of conservators.

Architect Nicholas Hawksmoor designed the hall of the Royal building as a grand dining room for the Naval pensioners.  Little known artist Thornhill took on the work as his first major commission, negotiating a fee of £1 per square yard for the walls and £3 per square yard for the ceilings.  Athough this sounds like a good fee for the 17th Century, Thornhill would take 19 years to complete the work. (If only he had had a public art consultancy to negotiate his daily rate). Over this period he would have to rethink the design several times due to the changing political landscape. Thornhill appears in the painting, pointing to his work.    

Our guide Marilyn led the group up the scaffolding 60 feet from floor level to an observation platform, where we could see at first hand the work being undertaken to restore this magnificent painting.  The rich colour and vibrancy is evident from the restored areas that have been affected by smoke and dirt. It will take the conservationists over 2 years to clean with the project due to complete in 2019.  It is thought that it should not need any further intervention for the next 100 years. 

Here are a few highlights: 

Painted hall 10    the painted hall    Painted hall 3 

Painted hall 4    Painted hall 5    Painted hall 8

Painted hall 6   Painted hall 7    Painted hall 11    

The conservationists palatte                     Sir James Thornhill

Cathedral of Santa Maria de Palma

A trip to Mallorca last week (and avoiding the snow!) took in the Cathdral of Santa Maria de Palma. The gothic Cathedral is built on a cliff top and is one of the most distinctive and dominant features on Palma's skyline.  

The building is famous for its enormous interior space and intense light from a total of 61 stained glass windows, significantly five being rose windows.  The majority of the windows use  primary colours and stream brightly into the space.  But in the restored Chapel of the Holy Sacrament the windows and nave have been interpreted by contemporary Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo. 

Cracked terra-cotta covers the Chapel's walls with a relief of sculpted bread, fish, fruit and human skulls creating a cave like impression.  The stained glass windows are darkened and cracked to create a dramatic effect and create a theatrical and bold approach from the Mallorcan born artist. 

 IMG 6248    IMG 6245    IMG 6247



Street naming for Conningbrook Lakes

FrancisKnight and Lead Artist Kerry Lemon undertook a series of consultations to help inform the Public Art Strategy for Conningbrook Lakes.  Listening to the people that work and use the country park has helped shape the public art commissions.

During discussion and debate, particularly with The Kent Wildlife Trust, there was an early opportunity to influence influence of street naming for the residential development.  The abundance of flora and fauna at the country park has inspired a number of references.  Our favourite street names are: Leveret Lane, Teasel View and Ringlet Way.

Chartway Group Ltd and Latimer Developments Ltd have fully embraced the willingness to open up the conversation and see the value and potential for public art commissions for Conningbrook Lakes.

It's just the start of intergrating both the residential and the country park and we look forward to the artist commissions that follow.  

Illustrations by Lead Artist Kerry Lemon 


Lumiere London Light Festival 2018

We had a great day of artist presentations for Rochester Riverside yesterday to our client Countryside Properties (UK).  Katayoun Dowlatshahi, Esther Rolinson and Christopher Tipping shared their concept proposals and further workshops will now take place to work these up to detailed deisgn.

One of the commissions is specifically for light and artist Esther Rolinson describes her commission like a mist rising, a glow or shimmer of light with a rhythm and connection to location.

After visiting the Lumiere London Light Festival in January we saw how powerful light can be, transforming the atmosphere of a place.  Here are some of our favourite highlights:  

lumiere8   lumierre5   lumiere7

lumiere   lumiere6   lumiere2  

lumiere3   lumiere4    lumiere9


Public Art for Rochester Riverside

Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 15.08.28    Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 15.38.35    Screen Shot 2018 01 10 at 15.35.32

The first chapter in the commissioning of public art for Rochester Riverside is taking place, as we are pleased to announce the artists that are working on phases 1 & 2 of the significant development site in Medway, Kent. All the commissions respond to and resonate with the unique riverside location.

Three artists have been commissioned to develop embedded public art, working collaboratively with the design teams for Rochester Riverside.

Working with the appointed landscape architects Land Use (LUC) is:

Artist Esther Rolinson who is working on a lighting commission that supports and enhances the new gateway area called Station Square.

Artist Katayoun Dowlatshahi is working on a landscape and furniture commission. The commission looks at contributing and exploring alternative use of scheme elements from hard landscaping to street furniture.

Artist Chris Tipping is working with architect’s bptw on an architectural commission where public art will support distinct and connected neighbourhoods. The artwork has the potential to influence style and design and create a Rochester identity.

FrancisKnight’s relationship with Countryside Properties (UK) Ltd and The Hyde Group began earlier in September 2016.  FrancisKnight were part of the winning team to be awarded the scheme and have since produced a Public Art Strategy as part of the planning submission.  They continue to work as public art consultants for this significant site, which will deliver 1,400 homes across seven development phases. 

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