Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a very busy start to the year here at Attingham. Whilst some people have been resting after the festive season the team at the Mansion have been hard at work preparing for the start of the Through the Roof project. The project which will conserve the cast-iron roof above the Picture Gallery means that for two years the large space will have to be filled partly with scaffolding to support the ceiling but also to protect the important room below. This however means that the gallery has to be emptied, and in a space as large as this one you can imagine how much work that is. Luckily the specialist team from Crown Fine Art have moved in to do all the heavy lifting and removal of the precious collection items.
The paintings are all hung on chains and so they must be unhooked and then carefully lowered down.
The chains are left hanging and ribbons have been tied to the chains at the level the paintings were hooked so that they can be hung back up in exactly the same way when the project is finished.
Within a few days the Picture Gallery is looking very empty without its paintings. It gives us some idea of how the room may have looked after the Bankrupcy sale of 1827 in which big spender Thomas 2nd Lord Berwick was forced to sell the art collection for which he had built the Picture Gallery in the first place.
The paintings will be stored in different places throughout the duration of the project but for now they are carefully stored in one room separated on t-bars. It’s a great opportunity to have a look at these paintings close up and appreciate them in a new way. This is something that all the visitors to the Mansion will have a chance to do when the house re opens on the 2nd March as we will be hanging some of the paintings on special racks upstiars. This means that you will have a once in a lifetime chance to get up close to some of the paintings in our collection!
We have also begun protecting the more permanent features of the room starting with the balustrade of the Nash Staircase. First it is covered with acid free tissue paper and a layer of foam…
… next the whole thing has been covered with Antinox, a material we use to protect the interiors here at Attingham when we are working in them. The cream carpet on the Nash stairs has also been laid for protection for the duration of the project as the Picture Gallery and Nash Stairs will still be a part of the route you will take. Although there will be scaffolding in place to protect the room and the visitors, we will be using the space to re-hang some of the paintings and also for some exciting displays about the work as it progresses.
It’s a lot of work and preparation but it’s very important that the collection and the interior of the picture Gallery are properly protected for the upcoming work especially as conservation for the future is what the Through the Roof project is all about. Our Winter Tours will be taking in the preparation of the Picture Gallery so come and have a look for yourself on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11th January untill 23rd of Febuary and follow the blog for updates about the project and our work in the Mansion.