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A trip to Nottingham with Hockney

12 November 2009 by Sam

photo of a contemporary gallery building

Nottingham Contemporary art gallery – home to the Walker’s Hockney painting for the next few months

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at one of the aspects of the work that our staff are involved in, courtesy of handling and transport technician Paula Frew. This week Paula travelled to Nottingham as a courier to supervise the installation of one of the Walker’s most popular paintings, which has gone out on loan. Here’s what she got up to, in her own words:


“Monday morning at 7.30am I was on the train travelling to Nottingham to act as a courier for the installation of the Walker’s David Hockney painting ‘Peter getting out of Nick’s pool’ by David Hockney, which is on loan to the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery for their Hockney exhibition. The painting had travelled ahead of me, having been collected from the Walker on the Friday by Momart, who handle and transport art works nationally and internationally.

Twenty minutes walk from the train station, Nottingham Contemporary art gallery stands on a corner like the raised prow of a ship looming in front of a sandstone gothic church, the opposing architectural styles complimenting the space.

Entering the gallery, construction work was underway installing interior features. I signed in and was introduced to the staff who escorted me into the exhibition space. Here was a quiet eclectic mix of organised disciplines consisting of painting conservators, curators a registrar and exhibition technicians.

I instructed the technicians on the safe removal procedure of the crated work. The work was carefully removed and placed on foam blocks and leant temporarily against the wall.

Painting conservators checked the painting against the relevant paperwork and images that I had with me from National Museums Liverpool’s painting conservator David Crombie, who had supplied a full report. Content with the report and the painting’s condition, the conservators allowed the technicians to continue with its installation.

I observed the technicians measure a space on the wall and install the original lifting brackets. Lifting brackets are used to support this painting, as a pretty chunky frame encompasses the canvas, giving it a weight of 105kgs.

A small lifting machine (SWL 227kgs) was used to elevate the painting onto the brackets. Once installed onto the brackets, the fittings attached to the back of the painting called ‘Oz- clips’ (nothing to do with a wizard’s hair!) were used to finally secure the painting to the wall, installation professionally completed.

Visitors to the Walker Art Gallery hoping to see a David Hockney painting over the next few months won’t be disappointed as the Tate have kindly loaned ‘Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy’, which is going on display in gallery 15 for the duration of the Hockney exhibition in Nottingham.”

  1. nick sykes says:

    The gallery looked great on the Culture show last night .With the NML Hockney pride of place. Great work Paula/ Ace report.

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We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.