Restoration reveals wall painting in 19th century Tbilisi hotel interior

The reveal of the paintings has been praised as a "true discovery" by Tbilisi historian Tsira Elisashvili. Photo via Tsira Elisashvili on Facebook., 20 Jul 2021 - 19:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

A group of restoration professionals working on the 19th century Hotel London building in Tbilisi's Old Town have revealed wall paintings under a plain layer of mortar, adding to the list of artwork discovered in historical buildings of the capital city over the recent years.

A number of paintings showing Georgian countryside landscape were identified by the working group, which involves two generations of professionals and has previously restored several other Old Town destinations in the city.

The colourful depictions of mountainous landscapes and settled areas was praised as a "true discovery" by Tbilisi historian Tsira Elisashvili, who shared the pictures on social media on Tuesday.

The works feature motifs of Georgian countryside landscapes, a rarity in wall paintings found in Old Town buildings of the capital. Photo via Tsira Elisashvili on Facebook.

Elisashvili said rarity of motifs of Georgian locations found in wall paintings of Old Town buildings marked the significance of the finding. The artwork was found under a layer of construction mortar used on the wall during the Soviet era, the historian said.

Hotel London opened at 21 Madatov (now 31 Atoneli) Street in Tbilisi in 1875. Owned initially by Alexander Zubalashvili of the city's well-known philanthropist family, the building later belonged to his brother Konstantine before being handed down to their descendants.

The Hotel London building, as seen in Tbilisi in the late 19th or early 20th century. Photo via National Parliamentary Library of Georgia.

The hotel hosted numerous travellers discovering Georgia during their visits, mostly from Europe. Norwegian author Knut Hamsun and Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky were among the notable figures who spent their time in Tbilisi in the building throughout the last quarter of the 19th century.

Located in Atoneli Street's corner with Italia Street, near the Alexander Garden public park, the building has been under renovation and restoration work over the past number of years.

The discovery of artwork follows other cases of restoration teams coming across wall paintings during work on 19th century residential and public buildings in Tbilisi as renovation of historical districts picked up in pace over the past five years.