Leeds ,

Stunning "secret ceiling" discovered during Leeds Art Gallery renovations

Renovation work on Leeds Art Gallery has uncovered a spectacular roof space that has been hidden away for more than 40 years.

Workers carrying out essential repairs on the 128-year-old building were removing a false ceiling in one of the upper galleries when they discovered the stunning arched glazed structure, which had been boxed in since the 1970s.

Staff working at the gallery today were completely unaware of quite how stunning the space was until now and are currently exploring options to secure and renovate the new discovery.

Sarah Brown, programme curator at the gallery said:

"Leeds Art Gallery is entering a really exciting phase of development as we plan for our reopening.

"Uncovering this exciting new space, which has so much potential, we are keen that this additional refurbishment goes ahead and results in a gallery that will allow our audiences and visitors to the city to be amazed by the transformation of a much loved building when we reopen in autumn 2017."

Leeds Art Gallery has been closed since January 10 while essential repairs to the original roof of the historic Victorian building are carried out.

Throughout the year, the gallery has been maintaining an active profile through extensive loans from its art collection and engaging audiences through external programmes.

The gallery team will now look at possible fundraising opportunities that could help them to finance the renovation of this new gallery space.

Leeds Art Gallery are appealing to organisations and individuals who might be interested in supporting the work required to transform this magnificent space so that it can be enjoyed by all.

The complicated work needed to secure the arched roof will mean the gallery will have to remain closed until October 2017.

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:

"This beautiful new roof space is a truly remarkable find and, much like the discovery of the Tiled Hall just a few years ago, is further evidence of what a unique architectural gem Leeds Art Gallery is.

"The gallery is one of a kind and a cornerstone of the city's cultural offering, so it is crucial that we make sure the building is protected, preserved and secured now so that future generations can appreciate not only the world class collection, but the many magnificent features of the building itself."


For media enquiries, please contact:

Stuart Robinson

Communications Officer

Leeds City Council

Tel: 0113 224 3937

Email: stuart.robinson@leeds.gov.uk


Notes to editors:

Leeds Art Gallery, The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 3AA. www.leeds.gov.uk/artgallery / 0113 247 8256

Leeds Art Gallery temporarily closed its galleries earlier this year in preparation for extensive repairs and renovations to take place to the original Victorian roof. The closure itself involved finding new temporary homes for a significant proportion of the gallery's art collection, a large proportion of which has gone on loan to institutions all over the world. The building work began in May when complex scaffolding structures were constructed enabling access to the roof, as well as internal work to safeguard architectural features of this listed building. The work itself includes replacing the glazed panels, carrying out repairs/replacing tiles, replacing rainwater goods and providing improved insulation.

Founded in 1888, Leeds Art Gallery has designated collections of 19th and 20th century British painting and sculpture widely considered to be the best outside the national collections. The gallery has always supported the work of living artists with the early 20th century represented by artists such as Walter Sickert and Stanley Spencer, with the development of English modernism shown through key works by Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson, Paul Nash, Jacob Epstein and Francis Bacon. The collection also features works by contemporary artists including Becky Beasley, Fiona Rae, Paula Rego, Bridget Riley, Tony Cragg and Mark Wallinger.

The gallery is an internationally renowned centre for modern and contemporary art with an exhibition programme that has showcased work of celebrated artists such as Damien Hirst through strategic partnership projects with the Art Fund / Tate's Artist Rooms, in addition to curating major exhibitions together with Tate (Henry Moore and Terry Frost) and in partnership with the Arts Council Collection. The gallery has established a strong reputation for initiating, commissioning and curating solo exhibitions by significant artists attracting attention on the national stage.