Prof. Dina D’Ayala and Dr. Athanasios Pappas are assisting Historic Royal Palaces in the preservation of the magnificent ceiling of the Banqueting House on Whitehall, London. Painted in the early 17th century, it is the only surviving in-situ ceiling painting by Flemish artist, Sir Peter Paul Rubens. The three main canvasses depict The Union of the Crowns, The Apotheosis of James I and The Peaceful Reign of James I.
The paintings were removed from the ceiling and stored for fear of damage during the German bombing of London in 1941. In order to facilitate the emergency removal task, the paintings and their supporting timber frames were cut into smaller sections. After a long and thorough restoration project, the reinstatement of the paintings was completed in 1951.
Almost 70 years since the last major restoration, Historic Royal Palaces have started a new comprehensive research project to investigate the panels and their decorative coffering frames, which includes an evaluation of structural aspects of the paintings related to their removal. EPICentre was asked to help guaranteeing the integrity of some of the most famous works from the golden age of painting.