The British Museum

02 September 2016

Bagnalls have been a preferred supplier of painting maintenance services to the British Museum for over 15 years and fully understand the idiosyncratic nature of work scopes, security and programmes that must fit in with the museum’s daily public access.

Recent works in one of the museum’s main galleries required Bagnalls to take colour samples and paint two display bays to allow the staff to select the appropriate colour for what was a bespoke design. The museum selected a paint shade that would evoke the blue sky against which the ancient Egyptian objects would have been seen in their original context.

Minimising disruption to the general public, who frequent the museum on a daily basis was of paramount importance, so the works were split into four phases.  The majority of the Egyptian gallery was redecorated during normal working hours, however, the central atrium had to be painted on nights for safety reasons.  The allocation of skilled operatives to the project was akin to a military operation as the right painters had to be in the right place at the right time.

With so many priceless artefacts on display in the gallery, coordination with the museum staff was vital throughout.  The museum staff cordoned off the areas and undertook all soft and hard protection of the artefacts. Painting around the artefacts was a complex operation and carefully delivered by the experienced site team.  All works were accessed using a combination of MEWPS specially chosen for their specification. Size was critical as they needed to be high enough and with a big enough outreach to access all areas but small enough that they could manoeuvre around the artefacts, plus fit into the goods lift to be brought in from street level.

The final result was one that both the British Museum and Bagnalls were extremely proud of.

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