The Wallace Collection


Collection Blog

Behind the Scenes of the Great Gallery Refurbishment

If you’ve been down to the Wallace Collection of late, you may have spotted that one of our galleries is undergoing a makeover…


The Great Gallery, the largest gallery at the Wallace Collection, has been closed since October 2012 to allow much-needed refurbishment works to be undertaken. The hang of the works of art had been in place for over thirty years, and the gallery was in urgent need of care and attention to bring it up to the same standard as our other beautiful rooms. Due to reopen in autumn 2014, the finished gallery will feature new, rich red wall silk, a raised ceiling, beautiful decoration – from gilded coving to parquet flooring – and a sophisticated new lighting scheme.


While you will hopefully have been enjoying the new temporary display of the Great Gallery works of art in our other sumptuous rooms here at the Wallace Collection, the Great Gallery itself has been undergoing a transformation. In recent months, the rather tired old silk has been taken down, the scaffolding has gone up, and the roof has been, quite literally, raised!


As the roof demolition continues, we thought you might like to see some behind the scenes photos of the progress being made. We will keep you updated on the refurbishment throughout this year and the next, and we look forward to unveiling the Great Gallery to you in all its glory next year. Do let us know what you think of the progress, and whether you like seeing these special behind the scenes shots: you can get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter (@WallaceMuseum), and at


 Internal Demolition

1. The internal demolition of the Great Gallery is well underway. The walls have been stripped back to the original brickwork and the ceiling has been almost completely demolished, exposing the roof void steels and service ducts. We have built a crash deck scaffold in the gallery to provide access for high-level demolition; in this picture, the apparent ‘floor’ is actually the top of the crash deck. To the right of the picture one can see the cornice and the remnants of the coving (with the gilded trellis pattern), making it easier to picture the height of the deck.


Stripped Walls

2. The Great Gallery at floor level, underneath the crash deck. The walls have been stripped and the floor protected.


Hole in the Roof

3. The first hole in the Great Gallery roof! This hole is currently used as site access in and out of the Great Gallery from the external scaffold. All of the waste from the demolition is taken out this way.


Temporary Roof

4. The temporary roof is under construction. Once finished this will be fully weathertight, allowing us to demolish the Great Gallery roof. The zinc ridge and glass panels of the existing roof are visible. In the background you can see the huge glass triangle of the Collection’s courtyard glass roof, above the restaurant.


Temporary Construction

Temporary Construction

5 & 6. The temporary roof under construction.


We look forward to keeping you up to date with the changes as they happen over the coming months, and do please come and visit the other beautiful rooms at the Collection which are open for the duration of the refurbishment project.


Helen Jacobs
Project Manager

Fascinating to see the in progress works.

I have been lucky enough to have worked at Home House for the last two and half years on the interiors, itself a grade 1 /11 listed building.

Since then i find time to visit the Wallace most days i am there even if it is just to pop in, or buy something from the wonderful shop. I would love to know more about the beautiful silks you use to cover the walls.

Good luck with all.

L Price on 26 May 2013