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Kew paintings to be restored

Published: Sunday 19th of October 2008

London's world-famous Kew Gardens has announced it has begun a restoration project on a large number of paintings donated to it by a late 19th century artist, to be completed in time for its 250th anniversary next year.

The oils and sketches by Marianne North have been hung in a gallery at the botanical gardens since the 1880s, but heat and humidity have since taken their toll.

Action is now underway to restore the works of art in time for the reopening of the Marianne North gallery in October next year, which coincides with the garden's historic birthday.

Eleanor Hasler, an art conservationist working on the project, said: "Marianne North was in her 40s, traveling around the world by herself painting these pictures, which was quite an eccentric thing to do at the time."

The damage has been attributed to the thin construction of the gallery's walls, which allow temperature and humidity to vary widely, as well as the acidic boards on which the works were mounted.

Cash for the project has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund, receiving £1.86 million, which the Gardens must match to cover the entire cost.

LondonPass holders can benefit from free entry to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, which is a saving of £13 for adults.

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