LONDON: Work has begun to overhaul the Picture Gallery at Queen Elizabeth's Buckingham Palace, often the backdrop to state visits and receptions held by the monarch and usually home to some of its best-known Old Master paintings.
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 (US$494 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 the paintings, including works by Canaletto, Vermeer and Rembrandt have been removed for the first time in almost 45 years, Buckingham Palace said on Monday.
"Their removal is the culmination of months of planning between the Reservicing Programme Management Office and Royal Collection Trust," the palace said.
"The works are widely acknowledged as highlights of the Royal Collection and 65 are now due to go on public display together nearby at The Queen’s Gallery."
The Picture Gallery, one of the principal State Rooms at the palace, was created by George IV in the 1820s.
(US$1 = 0.7488 pounds)
(Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Elizabeth Piper)