Queen’s House Greenwich Building Opening, Southeast London Architecture News, Property Design

Queen’s House Greenwich Building Re-opening

British Palladian Villa by architect Inigo Jones: Architectural Development in southeast London, England, UK

4 Oct 2016

Queen’s House in Greenwich Re-opening News

Queen’s House Greenwich Preview

Design: architect Inigo Jones

Queen's House Greenwich Building

London architect and architectural educator Fiona MacDonald attended the press preview on behalf of e-architect for this wonderful refurbishment project in Southeast London. We post a selection of her photos below.

Queen's House Greenwich building

The 17th-century ‘house of delight’ that began an architectural movement in Britain will re-open to the public this October, with a startlingly ambitious contemporary artwork at the heart of its most celebrated room, the Great Hall.

Queen's House Greenwich Building

The Queen’s House, the Palladian villa designed by celebrated British architect Inigo Jones, is one of the UK’s most historically important buildings and an acknowledged masterpiece of British architecture.

Queen's House Greenwich Building Queen's House Greenwich Building

Part of Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG), the Queen’s House is a Scheduled Ancient Monument of unique architectural importance and forms the central feature of the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The heart of the House is a masterpiece within a masterpiece – Inigo Jones’s Great Hall – a 40ft cube with black and white marble floor and ornately carved ceiling and gallery woodwork.

Queen's House Greenwich Building Queen's House Greenwich Building

The House re-opens on 11 October 2016 following a 14-month closure for conservation of the entire building.

• First artist to work on Queen’s House ceiling in nearly 400 years

• One of the most famous images of Brtitish history, the Armada portrait of Elizabeth I, on display at site of her birth

• Major work returning to Greenwich for first time since 1650s

• 300 paintings from unrivalled maritime collection, including works by Canaletto, Hogarth, Lowry, Stubbs and Reynolds

• Magnificent loans from the great museums of Britain to be announced

• Glorious presentation of building which introduced classical architecture to Britain

Queen's House Greenwich Building

Photographs © Fiona MacDonald

10 Sep 2016

Re-opening of the Queen’s House in Greenwich

Queen’s House Greenwich Building Re-opening

Designed: architect Inigo Jones


Queen’s House London:
Queen's House Greenwich London

9 September 2016 – When the House was built, Florentine artist Orazio Gentileschi was commissioned to create nine paintings for the Great Hall’s ceiling panels, collectively entitled Allegory of Peace and the Arts under the English Crown. The paintings remained in situ for a relatively short time, from 1639 to 1708, when they were removed and re-sized to fit a smaller ceiling in Marlborough House in St James’s, London, where they remain today.

Now, one of the most important British artists to emerge in the last 20 years, Turner- Prize winner Richard Wright has become the first artist since Gentileschi to create a permanent new work on the ceiling.

Queen’s House Tulip Stairs:
Queen's House Tulip Stairs

Richard Wright’s no title is his largest work to date. His gold leaf, ornamental design reflects the influence of Inigo Jones’s painted, carved and gilded ceilings and, perhaps most clearly, the elegant wrought-iron leaves, scrolls and flower heads of the spiral balustrade from Jones’s Tulip Stairs, the first in Britain to be built without a central support and another undeniable British design treasure.

Queen’s House Greenwich with Canary Wharf
Queen's House Greenwich with Canary Wharf

Wright’s work is designed specifically to occupy its position in the Queen’s House. Completed with a team of assistants over nine weeks earlier this year, his painstaking, hand-crafted design complements the techniques and crafts of the 17th-century artists and craftspeople who made the House’s original decoration. Wright’s design is not contained by the rigid symmetrical ceiling compartments but continues down the gallery walls of the Great Hall, bringing intricate fluidity to the classical interior.

Richard Wright Tulip Stairs at Queen’s House:
Richard Wright Tulip Stairs Queen's House
photo © National Maritime Museum, London

Wright’s work is the most ambitious piece of contemporary art yet commissioned by Royal Museums Greenwich and emphasises the Queen’s House role as a centre for the display of art. A new contemporary art collections programme, installations, displays, events, exhibitions and acquisitions will aim to establish the Queen’s House as the art centre for south east London.

An undoubted highlight of the re-opening of the House is the unveiling of the famous Armada portrait of Elizabeth I. The painting became part of the national collection this July, following an overwhelmingly successul public fundraising campaign which attracted thousands of individual donations, as well as major grants and contributions from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Art Fund and others.

Queen’s House with Royal Observatory Greenwich
Queen's House Greenwich with Royal Observatory

Once owned by Sir Francis Drake, the painting was sold by his descendants and is in the public collection for the first time in its 425 year history. It commemorates the most famous conflict of Elizabeth’s reign, the failed invasion of England by the Spanish Armada in summer 1588. One of the definiteive representations of the English Renaissance, it has inspired countless portrayals of Elizabeth I across the arts and is a staple of school textbooks.

Working on Great Hall Ceiling in preparation for Richard Wright artwork:
Queen's House Great Hall Ceiling

The #SaveArmada appeal began on 23 May 2016 with a £1M grant from the Art Fund and £400,000 from RMG, and ended on 29 July with a major grant of £7.4M from the HLF; in between, 8,000 donations were made by members of the public (an average donation of £82 per head). The success of the campaign is now signified by the display of the portrait on the site of Greenwich Palace, Elizabeth’s birthplace, and alongside the parkland where she played as a young girl.

The Queen’s House was designed in 1616 for Queen Anne of Denmark, the wife of King James I, as a villa between the grounds of the Palace of Greenwich and the Royal Park. It was not completed until 1638, after work halted in 1618 when Anne became ill (she died in 1619). The building was completed for the French Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of King Charles I and mother of Charles II and James II. Henrietta Maria was steeped in the arts and it was she who chose Gentileschi for the decoration of the Great Hall ceiling.

Built as the last significant addition to the Tudor Palace of Greenwich, the courtly purpose of the Queen’s House was quickly interrupted by the Civil War, at which point the majority of the royal interiors and decorations were removed (the lavishly decorated ceilings of the King’s Presence Chamber, Queen’s Presence Chamber and Great Hall were left intact and remain today).

When the Palace was demolished, the Queen’s House gained a view of the River Thames for the first time, a vista which Queen Mary II protected when Sir Christopher Wren’s Royal Hospital for Seamen (now the Old Royal Naval College) replaced the Palace. Her intervention led Wren to revise his original design the Hospital and add two pairs of buildings separated by a ‘Grand Axis,’ exactly the same width as the Queen’s House (115 ft).

As the House re-opens, one important painting will return for the first time since the 1650s. Part of a sequence of pictures commissioned for the House by Queen Henrietta Maria and King Charles I, Orazio Gentileschi’s Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife (c.1630-3) will be on loan from the Royal Collections Trust and hang in the King’s Presence Chamber.

Conservation work in King’s Presence Chamber:
Queen's House Conservation work in King's Presence Chamber

The newly conserved rooms of the Queen’s House’s will present some 450 works from Royal Museums Greenwich, the absolute treasures of a maritime art collection which has no rival anywhere in the world. Among the paintings will be A View of Greenwich from the River by Canaletto, The Flagmen of Lowestoft portraits by Peter Lely, Captain James Cook by Nathaniel Dance, The Kongouro from New Holland and Portrait of a Large Dog by George Stubbs, The Parting Cheer by Henry Nelson O’Neill, Captain Lord George Graham in his Cabin by William Hogarth, View of Deptford Power Station from Greenwich by LS Lowry and Captain the Honourable Augustus Keppel by Joshua Reynolds.

And fifty magnificent works of art will be loaned by some of the great museums, galleries and collections of Britain. Details will be revealed as the opening day approaches.

The year-long conservation of the Queen’s House has also seen the introduction of a new colour scheme, aiming to help best display the world-class works of art and reveal the splendour of each room, with stone coloured walls in the Great Hall and dark brown details, as well as vivid blue for the King’s Presence Chamber and rich red for the Queen’s Presence Chamber.

Christine Riding, Head of Arts and Curator of the Queen’s House, said, “Richard Wright’s beautifully intricate work of art is a bold, dramatic but wonderfully appealing introduction to the House, perhaps the most significant artistic development here for nearly 400 years. It will change the way that people view the Great Hall and reveal new aspects of Inigo Jones’s neoclassical design. This is a clear signal of intent for the House.

We are aiming for it to become a culturally significant home for the display of art, from contemporary commissions to outstanding loans and the masterworks of the Royal Museums Greenwich collections. When the Queen’s House was built, its architectural style was seen as revolutionary; and it has long been acknowledged as one of the greatest buildings in this country. Now we are determined that it becomes a vibrant, ever-changing and endlessly rewarding house of delight for lovers of art, architecture and history.”

Queen's House Greenwich Building

The Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich

The Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich, London


There is no charge for admission to the Queen’s House.

The Queen’s House, Royal Museums Greenwich, Romney Road, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 10am-5pm seven days a week.

More information: www.rmg.co.uk Twitter: @TQHGreenwich

Richard Wright


Richard Wright is widely considered to be one of the central figures in the generation of artists that began to emerge from Glasgow in the 1990s. Born in 1960 in London, he graduated from Edinburgh College of Art in 1982.

He was awarded the Scottish Arts Council’s Amsterdam Studio Residency in 1986 and an Exchange Residency at CalArts, Los Angeles in 1994. He received a postgraduate degree at the Glasgow School of Art in 1995.

In 2009, Wright was awarded the Turner Prize. Notable solo shows include: the Theseus Temple, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna (2013); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (2007); Kunstverein, Düsseldorf (2002); Kunsthalle, Bern (2001); and Transmission, Glasgow (1994).

Group shows include his winning contribution to the Turner Prize exhibition at Tate Britain, London (2009), the 55th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh (2008), and “Walk through British Art” an exhibit spanning 500 years at Tate Britain (2013). Permanent public works include commissions for two ceiling paintings at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2012) and ‘The Stairwell Project’ for the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (2010). Recently he has been commissioned by Crossrail in London to make a large scale permanent public work for the new Tottenham Court Road station opening in 2018.

Royal Museums Greenwich

Royal Museums Greenwich comprises the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, the Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. Royal Museums Greenwich illustrates for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. This unique collection of attractions, which forms a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research. For more information visit www.rmg.co.uk.

Queen’s House Greenwich Building image / information received 090916

Location: Queen’s House, Greenwich, London, England, UK

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