Palace picture gallery emptied for first time in almost 45 years

The priceless paintings which adorn the walls of the Buckingham Palace picture gallery have been removed for the first time in almost 45 years as part of the next phase of major renovations at the royal residence.

Conservators have spent the last month carefully emptying the 65 pieces of art from the state room, including works by Canaletto, Van Dyck, Vermeer and Rembrandt, in preparation.

A timelapse video from the Royal Collection Trust shows the gallery covered in protective flooring as the art handlers used scaffolding towers and ladders to reach the historic paintings.

The Picture Gallery is one of the principal state rooms and provides the backdrop for state visits, receptions and official events hosted by the Queen and other members of the royal family.

Old Master paintings have hung in the room since it was first created for George IV in the 1820s.

The Gallery’s almost 200-year-old roof will be replaced, and ageing pipes and wires removed.

Some of the other essential infrastructure has not been updated since the Second World War.

The reservicing forms part of the 10-year programme of work to update the essential services in the building.

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