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Case Studies

The Queen's House Project

History of the Queen’s House

The Queen’s House Greenwich, designed by Inigo Jones, was proudly the first Classical building in England and is a scheduled ancient monument.
It was originally commissioned by James I’s wife Anne of Denmark, who unfortunately did not see the grand classical design completed before passing away in 1619. Under the direction of Charles I’s wife, Henrietta Maria, the building was finally finished around 1638.

The Building Today

The Queen’s House has reopened after major restoration, with 22 grand rooms filled with remarkable art spanning over 400 years. Turner Prize-winner Richard Wright revealed his impressive gold leaf design on the Great Hall ceiling, and the striking Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I is on display.

Constantine Brief

Earlier this summer, Constantine were asked to supply a team of art handlers to work with, and support, Royal Museums Greenwich (RMG) in the installation of art objects during the redevelopment of the Queen's House. This project also required Constantine to transport objects from various off site storage locations.
The Constantine team are highly experienced with installing artwork in buildings with listed status, so possessed the necessary expert knowledge and skills to undertake this significant installation project.

The Project

Access into the building is limited, so surveying the doorways and access routes was part of the extensive preparation. When on site, the Constantine technicians were required to manually carry all items up the south staircase, which in itself was a physically demanding task.
The technicians transported and installed spectacular iconic paintings by renowned artists, including: William Hodges, William Hogarth, Stephen Bone, Sir Peter Lely, Hans Holbein, Thomas Hudson and James Clark Hook. Some of the largest paintings in the collection, over 2 metres in length, were installed in the Bridge rooms on the 1st floor - a later architectural addition to the building.
When asking our Technical Manager, Ben Sparkes, to describe the most challenging and rewarding process throughout this project, he commented: “The physical task of lifting each painting manually or mechanically was challenging, with some highly decorative and fragile frames being difficult to manoeuvre.” He then added, “The challenge of working from plans during the installation, and adapting these plans once the artworks were on site, was successfully resolved by working closely with the curatorial staff. The double and triple hanging of paintings proved to be the most demanding part of the installation”.
Constantine overcame many obstacles within the Queen’s House that are inherent to the architecture of the building. The protection of the structure was a specific concern, and with guidance by Historic England on how to proceed, Constantine’s technical team completed the installation with great success.
Due to unforeseen delays with the refurbishment, the installation period was compressed, so Constantine worked diligently with RMG to finalise the project.

There were various challenges throughout the process, but this project was an immense achievement for both Constantine and the RMG team, who worked together tirelessly to ensure work was completed on time for the official opening on Tuesday 11 October 2016.

To find out more on the Queen’s House refurbishment, click here.

We’ve got the UK covered

With Arts Council approved secure facilities in London and Edinburgh, we offer unparalleled coverage within the United Kingdom. Constantine London is located on the south bank of the River Thames and is just 10 minutes from the White Cube and Tate galleries. It also provides fast links to the Channel Tunnel and Europe.

Both our sites feature state-of-the-art storage and warehousing, a fleet of specialised vehicles and knowledgeable staff. In fact, they employ the same climate and safety controls as the world’s leading museums, many of which trust us with their irreplaceable collections.

We believe it is our constant investment in software, equipment, material and above all, our highly-trained staff that maintains our position as the leader in art transportation, packing and collection management. Our facilities report is available on request.