Renovation work on Leeds Art Gallery has uncovered a spectacular roof space that has been hidden away for more than 40 years.
Workers carrying out essential repairs on the 128-year-old building were removing a false ceiling in one of the upper galleries when they discovered the stunning arched glazed structure, which had been boxed in since the 1970s.
Staff working at the gallery today were completely unaware of quite how stunning the space was until now and are currently exploring options to secure and renovate the new discovery.
Sarah Brown, programme curator at the gallery said:
“Leeds Art Gallery is entering a really exciting phase of development as we plan for our reopening.
“Uncovering this exciting new space, which has so much potential, we are keen that this additional refurbishment goes ahead and results in a gallery that will allow our audiences and visitors to the city to be amazed by the transformation of a much loved building when we reopen in autumn 2017.”
Leeds Art Gallery has been closed since January 10 while essential repairs to the original roof of the historic Victorian building are carried out.
Throughout the year, the gallery has been maintaining an active profile through extensive loans from its art collection and engaging audiences through external programmes.
The gallery team will now look at possible fundraising opportunities that could help them to finance the renovation of this new gallery space.
Leeds Art Gallery are appealing to organisations and individuals who might be interested in supporting the work required to transform this magnificent space so that it can be enjoyed by all.
The complicated work needed to secure the arched roof will mean the gallery will have to remain closed until October 2017.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said:
“This beautiful new roof space is a truly remarkable find and, much like the discovery of the Tiled Hall just a few years ago, is further evidence of what a unique architectural gem Leeds Art Gallery is.
“The gallery is one of a kind and a cornerstone of the city’s cultural offering, so it is crucial that we make sure the building is protected, preserved and secured now so that future generations can appreciate not only the world class collection, but the many magnificent features of the building itself.”