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See behind the scenes as we get ready to reopen

Release date: Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Cleaning a vase in the 'George IV: Art & Spectacle' exhibition

Cleaning a vase in the 'George IV: Art & Spectacle' exhibition ©

Tomorrow, 23 July 2020, Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, and The Queen’s Galleries in London and Edinburgh will reopen to the public. Before that happens we've been busy working behind the scenes on conservation and cleaning to ensure everything is ready to welcome you back. 

The safety and wellbeing of both our visitors and staff are our priority. Therefore, in line with Government guidance, we have introduced a number of measures to ensure that the Palaces, Galleries and shops reopen safely and you can return with confidence. Find out more about these measures on our dedicated page

London

The Royal Mews

The Queen’s horses have been returning to the Royal Mews after being relocated during lockdown to paddocks in Windsor, Sandringham and Hampton Court. Plan a visit to welcome them back. 

The Queen's horses at the Royal Mews ©

Pictured here is the Gold State Coach being carefully cleaned ahead of the reopening of the Royal Mews. The Gold State Coach has been used at every Coronation from George IV onwards, including that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and on other state occasions including the Golden Jubilee of 2002.

Cleaning the Gold State Coach

Cleaning the Gold State Coach ©

The Queen's Gallery, London

Sir Thomas Lawrence’s Coronation portrait of George IV is dusted ahead of the reopening of George IV: Art & Spectacle at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Bringing together Dutch and Flemish masterpieces, portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence and Sir Joshua Reynolds, delicate French porcelain, intricate goldsmiths’ work and elegant books and drawings, this exhibition will present George’s life through the art that enriched his world.

Dusting George IV's Coronation portrait

Dusting George IV's Coronation portrait ©

Edinburgh

A portrait of Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Anne Boleyn

A portrait of Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Anne Boleyn ©

A Royal Collection Trust curator makes final adjustments to a portrait recently identified as depicting Mary Boleyn, the elder sister of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. The portrait hangs in Mary, Queen of Scots’ Bedchamber at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and is thought to be by Flemish artist Remigius van Leemput. The painting can be seen as part of a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse

 

Shortly before lockdown, The Apotheosis of Hercules by Jacob Jacobsz de Wet II was removed by our conservation staff from the ceiling of the King’s Bedchamber at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The painting’s surface was cleaned and retouched and work was undertaken to stabilise its frame. The ceiling painting can be seen on the visitor route around the Palace. 

Conservation work on a ceiling painting at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Conservation work on a ceiling painting at the Palace of Holyroodhouse ©

Windsor

Recently the Agra carpet was removed from the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle, for only the second time in over 120 years. Measuring 23m x 12m and weighing two tonnes, it is thought to be the largest seamless carpet in existence.

The Agra carpet is rolled up at Windsor Castle ©

The carpet was conserved, rolled and temporarily removed from the room in order to protect it during essential maintenance work. It was woven for the Waterloo Chamber in India for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
 
Since its installation in 1894, the carpet has only been removed from the room on one other occasion – during the 1992 fire, when it took 50 soldiers to roll it up and move it to safety. 

A.G. Seymour, Clerk of Accounts at Windsor Castle from 1893-1930, recorded the arrival of the carpet from India in 1894:
 

It was a really gigantic roll, bound in long timber splints and weighing several tons. The firm who did our carriage, for there were no motors in those days, volunteered to tackle the job and we sent forty men to help. The great thing straddled over two lorries drawn by four horses and the men pulled with ropes, and so they started up the Castle Hill. It was a sight worth seeing, men and horses straining their utmost amid the shouts of those directing the operations.

(RA Add U278/59-61)