The Morning Room Ceiling
During the Second World War, a blast wave from a German parachute mine on 7 October 1941 brought the entire Morning Room ceiling down. In 1948, a competition was held to design a replacement which was won by Anna Zinkeisen. She was commissioned to paint a scene from ancient Greek mythology depicting gods and goddesses on Mount Olympus. Zinkeisen painted the ceiling in separate panels at her studio in Kensington, London. The sections were then fixed to the ceiling by a wooden framework.
Anna Zinkeisen was born on August 28, 1901, in Scotland. She studied fine art at the Royal Academy Schools in London. During the Second World War, she was employed as a war artist where she, along with her sister Doris, made drawings of war injuries for the Royal College of Surgeons. Her work is represented in the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Collection and the Imperial War Museum, as well as in private collections worldwide. She completed murals on the liners RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth. Zinkeisen was also famously known for her poster designs for London Transport.
Click here to watch a video about the story of the ceiling, as told by Julia, 15-year-old daughter of the artist, Anna Zinkeisen.