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National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery

CXD Provides Picture Perfect Storage Solutions


Conservation equipment and display specialist Conservation By Design (CXD) has provided a comprehensive furniture storage solution to house precious works of art at London's National Portrait Gallery. The furniture system, which was designed to offer secure yet robust storage for framed works of art on paper, mounted and un-mounted prints, drawings, loose archives and photographs, comprises a number of bespoke units from CXD's Sterling range. Using Smart Metal Design technology for heavy duty usage, the Sterling plan furniture was custom made to provide improved storage for artwork kept in specialist behind-the-scenes areas at the Gallery, but that were regularly drawn upon for viewing and research by members of the public.

Penny Hughes, Head of Collections Services from the National Portrait Gallery explained: "The conservation furniture was required to improve the quality of our current storage facilities in the Special Collections Store and Archive and Library Store, whilst providing additional storage space for growth of the collection and offering better access for research and study. Its introduction forms the second phase of our project to improve our storage facilities, the first being the relocation of our storage area in South Wimbledon to a shared facility with Tate in Southwark, London. "We chose to work with CXD because they offered the Gallery the best value both technically and commercially. The furniture solutions provided will bring our on-site storage facilities up to the highest standards for long-term preservation and access as well as relieving current pressure points and creating sufficient space for the growth of the collection held on-site for the foreseeable future."

The Sterling range is manufactured in the UK using the latest CNC technology which allows custom made variations of size to be produced at very competitive prices. The range delivers bespoke cabinets with a variety of possible features that can be specified depending on what is being stored. Wall shelving units can feature "easy loader" technology to make getting boxes off high shelves easier with less risk of damaging them or plan drawers with drop fronts. Christopher French for Conservation By Design, added: Because it could provide suitably secure high-quality drawer-loading preservation for the collections at the National Portrait Gallery, the Sterling range delivered a practical answer to the issues the facility faced. It is an honour to have been involved in such a major project for the Gallery, and hope that our work will ensure the access and ongoing conservation the impressive collection of art here for many years to come.

To complete the project, CXD also provided 182 custom-made Premier Drop Spine boxes and 6,000 Premier Expanded Gusseted Folders using CXD's smart service. Made from acid-free Premier Archival Folding Boxboard, the Premier Drop Spine boxes offer a controlled `micro-environment` for long term protection of papers, photographs and other fragile items: Using CXD Heritage Archival pHotokraft paper in the construction of both the Premier Drop Spine boxes and Premier Expanded Gusseted Folders, this bespoke storage solution provided the Gallery with a strong and durable method of preserving these important documents. For more information and a detailed specification on the range of products Conservation By Design offers, call 01234 846 300



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