Leeds Art Gallery

21 June 2018

The Leeds Art Gallery collection of 20th-century British art is recognised by the Government as a collection “of national importance”. The gallery was opened on the 3rd of October, 1888 and was paid for by public subscription, in honour of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, in 1887. The Gallery is a Grade II listed building and had recently undergone eighteen months of renovation, which uncovered an impressive glass roof in the Central Court Gallery.

Bagnalls was contracted by Leeds City Council to carry out the ensuing wall refurbishment and redecoration works to the gallery. We project managed the refurbishment works using specialist subcontractors to allow us to then carry out the extensive painting and decorating programme.

Bagnalls commenced work once the glass ceiling contract had been completed and handed back to Leeds City Council.  However, prior to our works commencing, lead paint was found on the old roof beams and Bagnalls were then contracted to manage the safe removal of all lead waste; the clearing up process took three weeks which then impacted on the tight programme given to us for the redecoration works.

Following the lead waste removal, our planned works could start with the removal of old plasterboard and wall cladding and replacement with a thermocel boarding, which was then plaster skimmed. The paint work was to be spray applied, so it was vital to expertly mask off all areas of the new glass ceiling, floor and doors. It was essential that the walls had a perfectly smooth finish as the brilliant white matt paint had to give a flawless backdrop to the pieces of artwork.

Our programme of works was originally due to start in early March, however, Bagnalls did not gain access to the gallery until mid-July.  Nevertheless, we still had to complete the works for the end of September in time for the planned re-opening of the gallery. So, we worked weekends and extended hours to complete the redecoration works on time and allow the gallery to show piece its main installation, an Alison Wildings renowned sculpture – Arena 2000.

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