Legacy of illuminated manuscripts, £8.99
One of the King Edward VII Galleries under construction, a photograph
London, England, around AD 1913
The future home of the oriental collections
The King Edward VII's Galleries were built between 1906 and 1914. This new extension to The British Museum provided the latest facilities for the collections, for the visiting public and for staff.
Here we see the main exhibition gallery, which stretches the whole length of the new building. When this photograph was taken in 1913, workmen were completing the fitting out of this area. Large exhibition cases of mahogany and plate glass were constructed on-site. A carpenter, wearing a white apron, is seen at a workbench in the centre of the gallery. Later, the floor was covered with cork tiles with a marble surround. Two rows of electric pendant lights were installed to increase light levels. A photograph from the Manchester Guardian shows the work completed.
The King Edward VII's Galleries were opened on 7 May 1914. However, the outbreak of the First World War delayed the transfer of the many of the collections into the new building until the early 1920s. In 1992 this gallery was restored as the Hotung Gallery of Oriental Art (Room 33).