Artwork rescued from flooding at Edinburgh gallery

Is everything really going to be all right? The closed gallery yesterday. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Is everything really going to be all right? The closed gallery yesterday. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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ONE of Edinburgh’s most popular visitor attractions has been forced to close its doors for several days after developing leaks triggered by heavy rain.

Staff were forced to remove several artworks from display after water was spotted coming into the ground floor of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art following a downpour on Tuesday.

No artworks have been damaged or affected in any way

NGS spokeswoman

It is not expected to reopen until tomorrow morning at the earliest, because of the level of repairs needing to be carried out in the affected area.

The leak damaged the ceiling in part of the ground floor of the gallery and also affected the electrical supply to various parts of the 19th-century building, which has been a gallery since 1980.

The National Galleries of Scotland, which runs the attraction, insisted there was no damage done to any of its artworks. It has more than 5,000 pieces in its collection of 20th-century art, which attracted more than 320,000 visitors last year.

The organisation had a major piece of art damaged by water while at the Gallery of Modern of Art in Glasgow earlier this year, after loaning it out for a nationwide celebration of visual art staged to coincide with the city’s hosting of the Commonwealth Games.

Scottish artist Nathan Coley was reportedly left furious after discovering he would have to recreate The Lamp of Sacrifice, which he made from 286 cardboard models of churches and places of worship in Edinburgh.

The capital’s modern art gallery, near the Dean Village, is currently hosting a major exhibition by the American pop art pioneer Roy Lichtenstein.

A spokeswoman for the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) said the affected artworks, which it refused to identify, had been removed from display as “a precautionary measure” while the source of the leaks was investigated. The problems have since been blamed on an internal blockage in the building’s “complicated drainage system”.

Visitors are normally able to see works by artists including Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Joan Miro, Henri Matisse, Samuel John Peploe, JD Fergusson and Steven Campbell.

The modern art collection is displayed across two sites. The one which has had to close is the main building, which was opened in 1828 by a charity as a hospital and home for children, and later became a school, which remained open until 1975.

The NGS spokeswoman said: “Water ingress was discovered shortly after 1pm on Tuesday, which meant the electricity supply to some parts of the building had to be shut off. A blockage in a drainpipe inside the building during heavy rainfall was the source of the leak. The leak occurred mainly at the ground floor corridor adjacent to the lift.

“No artworks have been damaged or affected in any way. A number have been removed from display as a precautionary measure while the source of the leaks is investigated. There is some minor damage to the ground floor ceiling area adjacent to the lift which is currently under repair.”