EPICentre helps in preserving the Rubens' ceiling canvases at Banqueting House
18 January 2018
EPICentre is assisting Historic Royal Palaces in the preservation of the magnificent ceiling of the Banqueting House on Whitehall, London.
EPICentre is 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 which are some of the most famous works from the golden age of painting.
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.
Within this framework, the main tasks of EPICentre include on-site investigation, laser scanning and monitoring data analysis and finally structural analysis with the means of advanced Finite Element Modelling. The eventual scope of this work is to interpret the existing complex crack pattern of the paintings which compromise their visual integrity and to propose a solution that safeguards the structural integrity of such a great cultural heritage asset.
Epicentre Staff Involved: Dina D’Ayala, Athanasios Pappas
Photo Credit: Banqueting House image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces © (www.hrp.org.uk)