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Conserving the Ruben's ceiling

The ceiling of the Banqueting House is the only surviving in-situ ceiling painting by Flemish artist, Sir Peter Paul Rubens. The canvases were installed in the hall in 1636. The three main canvasses depict The Union of the Crowns, The Apotheosis of James I and The Peaceful Reign of James I.

The film takes a closer look at how conservators examined Rubens' ceiling to decide how best to care for them, during conservation work in 2018.

Three specialist teams worked together to take scrapings to test the underlying original paint scheme, take scientific imaging to determine how the paintings were made and remove some of the degraded varnishes to reveal what remained. The plywood structures that the canvases are pasted onto were also examined to see if they were in good condition.

Conservation at our palaces

Watch the Rubens Ceiling Up Close

The magnificent ceiling of The Banqueting House is adorned with nine beautiful canvases by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Now, we're taking a closer look at these paintings to find out how best to care for them.

Video transcript of the Rubens ceiling up close

Follow along with an interactive transcript of the Rubens ceiling up close on YouTube. A link to open the transcript can be found in the description.

How you can help

We are an independent charity and we receive no funding from the Government or the Crown. We depend on our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors to help us to this expensive work. 

Find out how you can support our work at Historic Royal Palaces.

How you can support us


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