Upton's picture gallery roof replacement project

The roof light to Upton's picture gallery has reached the end of its life © Upton House

The roof light to Upton's picture gallery has reached the end of its life

Upton House’s picture gallery roof is under repair during 2013. During the project, the large glass roof will be replaced and new window frames will help secure the gallery and the wonderful collection it houses for another 100 years.

From squash court to picture gallery

The room we now call the picture gallery was originally a squash court, added by Upton's owner Lord Bearsted in 1928.

However, it was the quality of light in the room from the large glass roof that persuaded him to use it as an exhibition space for part of his art collection.

Not wanting to be without a squash court, squash being a very fashionable game to play in the 1930s, he built a replacement one at the other end of the house. This is also now a gallery where we show a range of changing exhibitions.

Replacing the roof

The original roof light is at the end of its life so the picture gallery will be under wraps for the work to be done.

The building work will focus on the leaded glazing, which is no longer airtight: some of the glass is cracked and the blinds for controlling natural light do not work anymore.

Once completed, the new roof light will feature special glazing to eliminate ultraviolet light, which is harmful to paintings.

There will be an automatic blind to control the intensity of natural light falling onto the paintings. We’ll also take this opportunity to make the space more energy efficient.

A new light on the best of the collection

The Old Masters collection from the picture gallery and the picture gallery passage will be re-hung once the roof work is completed.

You will be able to see it from mid-February 2014.