The Victorian roof space of York Art Gallery, which was concealed more than 60 years ago by curators anxious to assert environmental controls on their exhibitions, has had its false ceiling removed for the first time as part of an £8 million development.
First opened in 1879 for the Great Exhibition-inspired Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Exhibition, the roof space will now be turned into a mezzanine gallery, accommodating a South Gallery and the new Centre for British Studio Ceramics, scheduled to open in spring 2015.
© Lee Clark
“It is a fantastic space,” says Janet Barnes, the chief executive of York Museums Trust.
“It will make a dramatic impact to visitors when they first walk in to the new look gallery when we reopen in 2015.
“From the very start of our planning for the gallery’s development it was always our aim to remove the false ceiling and show off the original Victorian roof work.”
York’s collections of British ceramics is one of the finest in the world. Around 450 square metres of “high quality” gallery space will be added during the building works, with a suite of three galleries on the ground floor expected to showcase “ambitious” and “high profile” exhibitions.
Learning areas and a new set of gardens, linked to the York Museum Gardens, will also feature at the new-look gallery, which has been closed since the end of 2012.
National Lottery funding via Arts Council England has provided £3.5 million of the money, with a private legacy contributing a further £2 million.
© Ushida Findlay
© Lee Clark