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.

Philadelphia Academy of Music

John Canning & Co. was the consultant for historic finish exposures and paint analysis, and was responsible for ornamental plaster fabrication, woodwork restoration, and all decorative painting, trompe l’oeil, and gilding throughout the 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.


2010 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award, Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia

2011 AIA Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture


Historic Paint Color Analysis: How We Recreate Historic Colors

Restoring Illusions of Grandeur in the Philadelphia Academy of Music Ballroom