In brief

Queen Elizabeth's Majestic Art Collection To Get Royal Spruce-up

MaryScots

Francis Clouet's painting Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-87) Photo: Courtesy Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Royal Collection Trust/© 2014

It's time to pull out the (other) white gloves. The British Royal Collection, the largest private art collection in the world, is getting condition-checked, cleaned, and photographed in the largest survey of a major private collection. According to The Art Newspaper, the Queen's Pictures consist of 7,564 oil paintings, rivaling some of the biggest public art collections and eclipsing those of the Tate and the National Gallery.

Four conservators and frame technicians will make their way through each of the 13 royal residencies throughout the UK, room by room. Apart from the approximately one thousand works in the personal collections of royal family members, there are some 6,500 paintings of art historical significance, including works by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Rembrandt, and Anthony Van Dyck. Though many of these are already documented in the collection's website, including over 4,000 with images, many are poor quality, black-and-white pictures taken before the digital age. When the survey is complete, most of the images of the spiffed up works will be published online.

The condition survey will begin this summer with what the report terms the “lesser palaces," including Balmoral in Scotland, and is expected to take a decade to complete.