orleans house gallery exterior

Orleans House Gallery hoping to bounce back after lockdown

The Orleans House Gallery in Richmond is hoping it can re-open in December after the disruption caused by tomorrow’s national lockdown.

Having re-opened in July after being shut for over three months during the first lockdown, the gallery, one of the biggest art galleries in south west London, now faces closure for at least a further four weeks following Saturday’s announcement.

Andrew Carruthers, a member of the front of house staff at the gallery, was disappointed at the Government’s announcement but said the gallery is ready to close and for its potential reopening on the 2nd December.

He added: “We were prepared for it. We put in a lot of work when we went into lockdown last time.

“This time we’ve got everything in place so when we do reopen again we’re completely ready.

“As long as we get the go-ahead from the Government and Richmond Borough Council that we can open we will do so, as we have everything in place. We’ll be able to open straight away.”

Lockdown means that the ‘Octagon 300’ exhibit celebrating the 300th anniversary of the gallery’s octagon room will be inaccessible for a month during its run, which finishes in March 2021, though other exhibits and events face greater disruption.

OCTAGON: The gallery is celebrating the room’s 300th anniversary

‘Mindscapes: a Journey through Mental Health’, an exhibition created by the gallery alongside Richmond Borough Mind which is currently set to end in mid-December though now may not complete its run.

Carruthers said: “The sad thing about Mindscapes is that it is due to finish shortly after we come out of lockdown.

“We may extend that by a week or so but we might just open up with the next exhibition that is coming in.”

The gallery also plays an active role in the Richmond Literature festival, which starts this Friday.

The event was due to take place through a mixture of online and in-person events but now the whole event is taking place virtually.

In a statement, councillor John Coombs, lead member of culture for Richmond Council, said: “The Richmond Lit Fest team had hoped to bring you live events and the magic of face to face storytelling, however this is sadly no longer possible.

“Luckily for the thousands of lit-lovers in our borough, the written and spoken word can still be celebrated from the comfort of your home.”

Booker-prize winner Ben Okri and Cath Kidston are among those speaking at Richmond Literature festival, which runs from the 6-27th November.

Featured image credit: Orleans House Gallery

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