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Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 13:37 GMT 14:37 UK
Queen's Gallery nears completion
The finial is made from hand-pressed copper
The finial is made from hand-pressed copper
Builders are putting the finishing touches to the Queen's Gallery, the most significant addition to Buckingham Palace in 150 years.

A decorative finial in the shape of a honeysuckle flower has been fixed to the roof above the new entrance.

It is one of the final additions before the Queen officially opens the building on 21 May.

The 20m venue will house art from the royal collection, and it is due to host an exhibition of some of its finest works entitled Royal Treasures: A Golden Jubilee Celebration.

Designed by architects John Simpson and Partners, the new gallery will provide three-and-a-half times as much display space as before.
Huge crowds celebrated the Silver Jubilee in 1977
Huge crowds celebrated the Silver Jubilee in 1977

The original building, now known as the Nash Gallery, was built in 1831 by John Nash and converted into a private chapel for Queen Victoria 12 years later.

It was destroyed in an air raid in 1940 but at the suggestion of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, it was redeveloped as a gallery for the royal collection in 1962.

The development of the gallery is part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations, to mark the Queen's 50 years on the throne.

The royal collection, which many people says is among the best art collections in the world, is held in trust by the Queen as sovereign for her successors and the nation.

Striking

It contains works reflecting the personal tastes of monarchs over the last 500 years.

The new Queen's Gallery will be approached through a striking portico with 10 solid Portland stone columns leading to a double-height entrance hall and staircase.

On the upper level there will be seven galleries displaying works of art.

There will also be a multimedia room on the lower level with seven computer kiosks providing information about items in the collection.

The inaugural exhibition of the Royal Treasures will feature 450 works of art.

The exhibition will include paintings, drawings and watercolours, as well as furniture, sculpture, armour and jewellery.

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