Up, up and… onto the scaffolding!

Hanging Pictures at Nostell Priory – A Play In Two Acts

Scene: Four paintings need to be hung up at Nostell Priory. This may sound fairly straightforward, but two of the paintings are quite large and unwieldy, and the second two are high up at the head of one of the main staircases. This calls for an elite group of people, namely Nostell Priory’s conservation and house team (cue inspirational music)!

Act 1

Character: Wooded Alpine river landscape, with figures and cattle on a road, by Gaspard Dughet, known as Gaspar Poussin (c. 1615-1675)

Character: Scene from The Tempest by William Shakespeare, by William Hogarth (c. 1736)

Erecting the stage (or rather the scaffolding) in the Small Dining Room

Theatre handyman and stage technician Maurice prepares chains to assist in the hanging of the paintings

Poussin’s painting takes centre stage as it moves into position

Carefully ensuring that the play goes on without any hiccups, the well-rehearsed script is followed to the letter

Drama unfolds as Angie awaits the result of Act 1 – will the play be a comedy, tragedy, or romance?

To the relief of all Hogarth is safe on the wall, and is propped up by many eager stagehands as the final securing of the painting takes place

The finished set – two main theatre stars with four adoring fans on each side

Act 2

Scene: The play moves to an area outside the main auditorium. The stage is erected again, but this time is much higher as the paintings which need to be hung are very high up the wall.

It’s a team effort for the stagehands to erect the scaffolding

The view from the balcony (or rather, the view from the second floor staircase). Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou?

A moment of comedy and laughter within the play by the three court jesters – who says we don’t enjoy our job?

Awaiting the ‘curtain up’ moment (and awaiting the next painting to hang)

Concentration captured on camera as the portrait of Andrew Marvel (unknown artist, mid 17th century) is lifted up through the scaffolding

Marvel is put into position by two budding actors as the understudy waits patiently underneath

The finished masterpiece – what a show!

Applause and curtain calls as four paintings have been successfully hung by a group of budding thespians, watched by a rapt audience. The End!

Ellie

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