Art lovers will get a close-up view of one of Britain’s greatest collections from Friday when masterworks from deep inside Queen Elizabeth’s Buckingham Palace go on public show.
The paintings by Rubens, Van Dyck, Canaletto and others usually hang in the Picture Gallery, one of the palace’s State Rooms that play host to its grandest events.
But the old masters have been cleared out during renovations and moved to more modern exhibition space of the nearby Queen’s Gallery.
While tourists may have spotted the paintings before from afar during palace tours, they will now be able to see them closer up with fewer distractions, the Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures, Desmond Shawe-Taylor, told Reuters.
“What this does is bring the paintings down to eye level, put them in stronger lighting in a modern gallery setting and just allow you to focus on them and nothing else,” he said.
The palace is undergoing a 10-year refit to replace dangerous electrical wiring and boilers, and refurbish other ageing infrastructure, a programme that will cost about 370 million pounds ($500 million) and is due to finish in 2027.
As part of this work, the 200-year-old roof of the Picture Gallery will be replaced and all its paintings have been removed for the first time in almost 45 years.
The show “Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace” runs until Jan. 31, 2022.