The Royal Family has offered a look at the painstaking work being carried out as part of Buckingham Palace’s £369million refurbishment.
A two-minute video shared on the Royal Family Instagram account shows how 19th century wallpaper is being carefully removed ‘piece by piece’ from the Yellow Drawing Room as part of work in the East Wing.
The wallpaper will ‘conserved and preserved’ by experts before being rehung in the stunning reception room at the front of the palace.
A two-minute video shared on the Royal Family Instagram account reveals how 19th century wallpaper is being removed ‘piece by piece’ from the Yellow Drawing Room as part of work in the East Wing. Pictured, the Yellow Drawing Room in 2018 ahead of the work
The Yellow Drawing Room was emptied as part of the decant of the East Wing ahead of the restoration work. Pictured, the room today. The wallpaper has been partially removed
The wallpaper being carefully removed piece by piece, as seen in a video shared on the Royal Family Instagram account. The wallpaper will then be taken and conserved in a studio
The Yellow Drawing Room is part of the East Wing, situated at the front of Buckingham Palace. It was designed by Edward Blore in 1840 to provide more entertaining and living space for Queen Victoria and her expanding family.
The room was emptied as part of the decant of the East Wing ahead of the restoration work, which will see outdated electrics and pipes replaced and a lift installed to improve accessibility.
The wallpaper in the Yellow Drawing Room, which was originally hung in Brighton Pavilion, is so delicate that it is being removed to avoid any damage caused by vibrations from nearby construction work.
Speaking in the video, wallpaper conservator Allyson McDermott explained: ‘We are removing the beautiful wallpaper, 19th century century Chinese wallpaper, piece by piece. We will then take it back to our studios to conserve it and preserve it for the future.
She continued: ‘This is the perfect time. The paper is in desperate need of conservation. It is very acidic, very fragile. It is a wonderful opportunity to do it while all of the work is being carried out around the palace.’
The Yellow Drawing Room is part of the East Wing, situated at the front of Buckingham Palace. It was designed for Queen Victoria. Pictured, the East Wing before the First World War
The wallpaper in the Yellow Drawing Room, used by Queen Victoria for entertaining, is so fragile that it could be damaged by tremors. Pictured, the wallpaper after being removed
The wing was designed by Edward Blore in 1840 to provide more entertaining and living space for Queen Victoria and her expanding family. Blore’s design included the famous central balcony on the front façade of the Palace. Pictured, the East Wing of Buckingham Palace
King George IV originally chose the wallpaper to hang in his Brighton Pavilion.
It was later placed into storage where it was rediscovered by Queen Mary after the First World War.
Queen Mary chose the wallpaper to line the high-ceilinged Yellow Drawing Room – so named because of its original colour scheme – which is now used for official functions and meetings.
The bill for the refurbishment will be met by taxpayers via the Sovereign Grant – the annual fee paid by the Government to the monarch which this year came to £42million – with a third of the cash set aside for maintaining Royal palaces.
The project involves ten miles of water pipes, 6,500 plug sockets, 500 pieces of sanitary ware (toilet, basins and the like) and 20 miles of skirting board being replaced after experts warned there was ‘serious risk’ of fire and water damage to the palace and the priceless works of art it contains due to palace’s perilous state of repair.
The Queen has not had to move out while the work is completed, but she is likely to have to change bedrooms at some point and is said to be ‘fully supportive’ of the changes.
It is estimated that the benefits of the upgrade, including longer summer opening hours, more private tours and savings due to the improvements, could be around £3.4 million each year.
It is also forecast that the work, taken wing by wing, beginning with the front of the London landmark after essential works are completed in the first two years, will reduce the palace’s carbon footprint by 40 per cent in the future.
The Queen spends around a third of the year hosting garden parties, receptions, investitures and other events at her official home.
The work needed reflects the age of the building, which was first used as a royal palace by Queen Victoria and has not been decorated since 1952, the year the Queen ascended the throne.