MORE than 200 royal portraits are being hung in the Bendigo Art Gallery this week.
Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits will feature the official paintings from the National Portrait Gallery in London alongside outfits worn by royals in the 19th century.
Bendigo Art Gallery senior curator Tansy Curtin said after spending years putting the exhibition together, it was exciting to begin hanging it.
"This is what we live for," she said.
"We work on a show for two or three years and just can't wait until the crates get here and we can start unpacking it and looking at these incredible works.
"It's so lovely to see these portraits. Some have never travelled to Australia before and may never come again, so to share them with a regional audience is really special.
"It really shows the role Bendigo is playing in bringing great art exhibitions to Australia as well as the region. You don't have to be in a major city to be able to bring these works to an Australian audience."
London's National Portrait Gallery painting conservator Polly Saltmarsh said a major task was checking the condition of each portrait that had been transported for the exhibition.
"A lot of planning goes into it. Some portraits can definitely not travel but we try to make everything possible," she said.
"It depends on fragility of the painting. If we know there's been failures in the joins before, that's exacerbated by vibrations which is what happens during travel. (The works) are monitored at every stage (of their journey).
"We have to check every painting has arrived safely and in the same condition as they left the (London) gallery."
Ms Saltmarsh said there was a buzz around the gallery as the exhibition began the hanging process this week.
"We're so pleased Bendigo wanted to take the show," she said.
"We have loaned here before and it has always been a wonderful place to come to. It's a great team that is always enthusiastic about the works we bring."
Bendigo Art Gallery's Tudors to Windsors exhibition opens on March 16.
Exhibition's star already up on Bendigo gallery's walls
The star of the new Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits exhibition is already hanging in the Bendigo Art Gallery.
Known as The Ditchley Portrait, Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger's painting of Queen Elizabeth I dates back to the 1590s.
"It is the first time it has been to Australia. It's the star of the show," Ms Saltmarsh said.
"It doesn't often travel, so it is exciting to have it on this tour."
Tudors to Windsors will also feature 19th century fashion with a Queen Victoria dress from 1897 to be displayed.
"Queen Victoria was important figure in history," Ms Curtin said.
"Our gallery was established in year of her golden jubilee (1887) and her sculpture is in Rosalind Park.
"The interesting thing you notice when you see this dress from 1897 is the physical iteration and sculptural representation are very different. It makes her human to see her clothes. It brings you closer to someone who is beyond our living memory."
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