No two days are ever the same in my job, and the last two will stand out for a long time as being particularly special! After 18 months of preparation, working with scaled drawings to devise the new picture hang for the restored Oak Stairs, we finally began to place the paintings yesterday. The new picture hang, which stretches from floor to ceiling in a space the full height of the building, will contain portraits of the family, the British Monarchy, and a Russian Tsar and Tsarina. Many of these are larger than life full-length portraits, and a special hanging system has been devised by a structural engineer, with months of preparation work. Now the decorators have finished we have begun the long process of installing the works of art. Many of the paintings have had to be carried from their storage location, through the gardens and in through the North Wing, the only place with doors big enough for them to pass through! Then, having climbed three flights of stairs, the paintings are being painstakingly maneuvered into position on the scaffolding so that they can be hung on the walls. These photographs show the portrait of George IV, newly cleaned and conserved arrive through the doors to the Scots Apartment before being raised onto the scaffolding and lowered into position. The second photograph shows it looking resplendent on the wall, along with a portrait of the 6th Duke. As the hang progresses the scaffolding will be carefully lowered until the space is totally clear and the paintings can be viewed without obstruction…. I can’t wait!

Matthew Hirst

Head of Arts and Historic Collections

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