Leading commercial flooring specialists, A Cumberlidge, have recently completed a flooring refurbishment at the prestigious Cooper Art Gallery in Barnsley.

Home to the Cooper Trustees’ collection of 17th to 20th century paintings, watercolours and drawings by artists including JMW Turner, Wadsworth and Atkinson Grimshaw, the gallery’s permanent collection contains over 400 works from a wide range of artists and is visited by many thousands of people from all over the world each year.

The gallery has recently been extended and refurbished thanks to a grant of £638,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the celebrations to mark the centenary of its opening to the public.

Commenting on the refurbishment project, Tim Vaughan from Dinnington-based A Cumberlidge said: “The existing oak floors to the ground and first floor galleries were looking tired after 30 years of footfall. The Gallery team was very much aware of this and the imminent arrival of a particularly prestigious exhibition gave an added incentive to give the floor some tender loving care.

“We needed to breathe new life into the timber floors, restoring them to their former glory, so we stripped back layers of varnish, sanded and cleaned them before applying several coats of Satin Seal.”

Lynn Dunning, Arts, Museums & Archives Manager for Barnsley Council said: “We are delighted with the results of the floor restoration. We were concerned that the floor might have to be replaced altogether as it had been neglected for years, and so we were delighted that A Cumberlidge came up with a method to restore it with minimal disruption to the gallery.

“Being able to retain the historic features of the gallery is incredibly important to us – the end result achieves a balance between retaining the original feel of the space and managing the expectations of the modern gallery visitor. We were particularly pleased with the flexibility of the team to get the work done within our tight timetable before the arrival of a major new exhibition.’’

The exhibition the gallery was preparing for was a major coup for the town – 17 important original linocut prints by Pablo Picasso, on loan from the British Museum and on tour outside of London for the first time. Pieces include the iconic ‘Still life under the Lamp’ and ‘Jacqueline Reading’, which depicts the artist’s wife and muse, Jacqueline Roque.

Ian McMillan, the town’s first Poet Laureate said: “I was very excited about the Picasso artworks coming to Barnsley; it shows the dynamic cultural times we’re living through round here and that the town is becoming even more of an artistic and creative hub. Picasso in Barnsley? But of course!”

Concludes Tim Vaughan: “The finished flooring looks spectacular and once more complements the masterpieces on show in the gallery.”

Find more information about the gallery at www.cooper-gallery.com