Marianne North Gallery, Royal Botanic Gardens

Kew Gardens, Richmond

The Marianne North Gallery was built in the 1890s to display the remarkable collection of 832 botanical paintings by the intrepid Marianne North. The condition of the building had long been giving cause for concern, as the paintings were being adversely affected by the lack of environmental controls. A design brief was developed following a Conservation Management Plan, authored by Donald Insall Associates, alongside a comprehensive stakeholder consultation process.

We subsequently undertook major repair and restoration work, replacing the roof coverings and installing new services, including new optical-fibre lighting, historic pendant light fittings, and new environmental controls. Access facilities have been improved with the new installation of a lift. The original stencilled decoration of the upper level and the geometric floor tiling, lost in the 1930s, has been restored based on a single historic photograph, and a new interpretation room was formed along with a removable screen within the gallery. Due to the long history of high moisture content in the walls, the paintings are now rehung on rails designed to permit natural airflow behind them. Access has been improved and a new lift provided.

Following this restoration work, the building has been upgraded to a Grade II* listing.