Last week on the 8th July, The National Gallery announced their reopening after being closed for 100 days. This also included the reopening of the newly refurbished Gallery 32.
Although this will be a different kind of opening many people are now able to enjoy a new experience at the Gallery. The newly refurbished Gallery 32, the largest and most visited rooms of the National Gallery displaying 17th-century Italian paintings by artists including Caravaggio, Artemisia and Orazio Gentileschi, Guido Reni and Guercino – has reopened with an enriched rehang.
Willmott Dixon Interiors were chosen to deliver the complete refurbishment to reinstate the original decorative scheme and give the room a complete lift from its last upgrade in 1991. These works commenced in January 2019 and were completed in time for July’s reopening after a 21-month refurbishment project as ‘The Julia and Hans Rausing Room’
Above Image: View of newly refurbished Gallery 32, one of the largest and most visited rooms in the Gallery
The refurbishment works included; new flooring, new lighting, new air conditioning, new fabric on the walls, H/L decorations and new external solar blinds.
Above: The newly refurbished Gallery 32, renamed ‘The Julia and Hans Rausing Room’, housing a collection of 17th-century Italian paintings
Some of the challenges included, asbestos beneath the floor, difference in floor level of 55mm from north to south, removal of central section of the floor and utilising the original floor duct.
Above: Image of restored paintwork
The original paintwork was retained and restored which required a lot of research from a specialist conservator revealing the original paint detail. This helped to identify colours for detailed plasterwork, drawing templates from the original details which made it possible to recreate.
Image: High up on the scaffolding platform, the plaster decoration was gilded with 23.5 carat gold leaf
As well as reinstating the dark red cloth to the walls, the ornate painted frieze has been put back and the plaster decoration tip-gilded with 23.5 carat gold leaf as shown in the image above.
Take a sneak peak of the behind the scenes of Room 32
In addition to the full refurbishment of room 32, Willmott Dixon Interiors completed back of house works in May 2021. For more information on the project click here