Now that all the paintings that can be moved have been taken out of the Picture Gallery we have had to find somewhere to put them all! You would think in a Mansion as big as this storage would not be a problem; unfortunately it still is! We can’t just put paintings anywhere, in basements and attics, we need to make sure the conditions are right so they are not in danger of any damage.
Some have gone into storage in one of our controlled stores in the Mansion and a few have been put to store in some of the space upstairs.
Just as importantly we want to make sure that these paintings are still able to be seen by people who visit the Mansion, even whilst the Picture Gallery roof is being conserved. Because of this, some of the paintings have been hung in one of the rooms on the first floor of the Mansion, previously exhibition space. The team has spent the last week hanging the paintings on the walls, being very careful to make sure they are all secure of course!
One of the most interesting things about this re homing of some of the Mansion’s collection has been the reaction of everyone who has been up to see them. Even staff who have worked in the Mansion for years and years, have walked into the room, looked at the paintings and said “I’m sure I’ve never seen that one before!”
One of the highlights for the team has been seeing up close Christ expelling the Money Changers from the Temple painted by Salvator Rosa c.1660. This painting is believed to be one of the collection brought to the Mansion by William 3rd Lord Berwick after he inherited the house from his brother Thomas. Most of the paintings bought by Thomas 2nd Lord Berwick were sold in 1827 when he went bankrupt but interestingly his younger brother William seemed to have bought some of them back, although not the flashy ones. For years this painting has been hung high above the organ at one end of the Picture Gallery and so been difficult to see properly. Here on the wall of the first floor you can really see the detail and expression in the painting.
It is amazing how moving the paintings has made us all look at these objects we see everyday with a fresh pair of eyes.
We open again for visitors on March 2nd so come and visit and take this unique opportunity to see our paintings for yourself, up close and from a new perspective.