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The Roof of the Great Hall, Westminster, 1397

© estate of Frank O. Salisbury. All rights reserved, DACS 2021. Photo credit: Parliamentary Art Collection

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In this large canvas Frank Salisbury has depicted a particularly significant moment in the long and rich history of Westminster hall. The king, Richard II, together with his master carpenter, Hugh Herland, inspect the work of construction on the roof of Westminster Hall in 1397. The hammerbeam roof, which spanned the entire width and length of Westminster Hall without the need for supporting columns, was a work of technical brilliance. As part of the radical remodelling programme for the hall between 1394 and 1399 transforming the Romanesque architecture of the 1090s into the fashionable gothic hall which has survived into the present age. Salisbury's accurate record of the roof was possible by sketching at high levels in the hall. In 1921 Sir Frank Baines led a comprehensive programme to repair and reinforce the roof and Salisbury was given a unique opportunity to work from the scaffold before it was removed.




oil on canvas


H 264.2 x W 193.1 cm

Accession number

WOA 2730

Work type



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Parliamentary Art Collection

The Curator's Office, Department of Information Services, House of Commons, 1 Canon Row, Greater London SW1A 0AA England

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