Philadelphia Academy of Music

John Canning & Co.’s determination to expose and define the original design scheme for the Philadelphia Academy of Music involved analysis of up to 16 layers of paint in some areas and aggressive exposure methods to reveal faintly ghosted patterns.


Historic paint analysis; plaster conditions analysis; restoration & conservation; paint exposures; new design; construction drawings; plaster restoration; ornamental plaster fabrication and repair; color and finishes matching; decorative painting; decorative finishes; trompe l'oeil; freehand artwork; architectural gilding & glazing; wood restoration

John Canning Co. consultation began with an historic paint analysis, investigation and exposures, and a plaster conditions analysis in the Academy of Music ballroom.

The work to be restored in the ballroom was completed in 1857. We referenced an 1860 photograph to inform our meticulous replication of the original design scheme. Where we could not determine the original decoration, we created new decoration working in the established style.


Location: Philadelphia, PA
Built: 1855
Architect: Napoleon LeBrun & Gustavus Runge
Style: Renaissance


Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award, Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia

AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture.

National Historic Landmark