It must be a masterpiece! Whitworth Art Gallery reopening delayed as bosses want things ‘perfect’

Severe setbacks to the renovation schedule of Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery mean the exhibition space will now not re-open until early 2015.

The Gallery, originally founded in 1889, has been undergoing a £15million overhaul which was supposed to be completed by the end of October.

Maria Balshaw, director of the Whitworth, explained that revamping and expanding the historic building has taken longer than contractors estimated.

She said: “We could get everything done by the day before Christmas but there would be no point opening then.”

In light of this, gallery bosses believe it would be better to get everything sorted properly for a new opening day on February 14 next year.

The delays are said to be due to complications with the building’s listed status and the scale of the project.

A spokesperson said the team did not wish to reopen the space until ‘everything is perfect’.

Building work began in 2012 after funding was secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

And the Gallery closed last September to take on the ambitious facelift which will see some of its once hidden features restored to their former glory.

The expansion will double the current the Art Gallery’s size, providing 400 square metres of new exhibition space to display the gallery’s 55,000 collection, which includes work by Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh.

There will also be new education wings, study areas, a café, an arts garden and a wing overlooking the adjoining Whitworth Park.

The Gallery will now re-open with Cornelia Parker’s Meteor shower piece next Valentine’s Day.

The piece is based on William Blake’s The Ancient of Days – which was originally donated to the gallery by John Edward Taylor, founder of the Manchester Guardian.

Cornelia Parker has joined forces with Nobel Prize-winning scientist Konstantin Novoselov to turn samples of pencil graphite from the back of the watercolour by William Blake into graphene.

Graphene is a material stronger than steel first isolated in 2004 by Novoselov and fellow Manchester-based Nobel Prize winner Andre Geim.

Image courtesy of Whitworth Art Gallery, via YouTube, with thanks

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