Sheldonian Theatre: Repairing the painted ceiling panels

In the summer of 2004, during routine maintenance work, it became apparent that the ceiling panels were in urgent need of repair. The panels were carefully removed and replaced with a temporary hessian ceiling, whilst they underwent restoration and were fixed onto new frames.

The ceiling panels, in oil on canvas, were painted by King Charles the Second's court painter, Robert Streater (1624 to 1679). The London-born painter specialised in large-scale architectural and decorative paintings and his work was particularly noted for its illusionistic quality. The allegorical programme in the painting shows Truth descending upon the Arts and Sciences to expel Ignorance from the University.

After four years of work by IFACS and through the generous support of Oxford University Press, the restored ceiling panels were finally unveiled in November 2008.

Published August 2014