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Extent of the damage

Although there was some damage to the building including smashed windows and ruined telephone and electricity services, it suffered no serious structural damage. Miraculously the Whistler Murals which decorated the walls of the restaurant and had been completed only two months previously, were unharmed - despite being submerged in 8 feet of flood water.

The prompt action of the Director together with the efforts of his staff and volunteers ensured that most of the art-works were safely salvaged, but sadly works stored in the basement were damaged. The basement housed a number of loaned works; a display of paintings by Landseer; and the Turner portfolios. It also housed the library collection which was badly affected.

There is some confusion as to the exact number of paintings lost. At the time seventeen were reported to the Trustees as damaged beyond repair but a more recent list puts the total at eighteen. You can find out more about the works that were affected by the flood and the type of damage they sustained by looking at the various flood reports from 1928.
National Gallery and Millbank Report
National Gallery and Millbank Report, 1928
  © Tate Archive, 2003
Academy Study of a Standing Male Nude Academy Study offset page bleed  
Despite having been submerged in muddy water for several hours, amazingly, the Turner watercolours had not run. There was a little damage to some of the sketchbooks and drawings stored in the basement however, as shown in this example. When blotting paper was laid over the drawings to soak out the flood water, some bled onto the blotting paper, producing offsets as illustrated. These blotters were retained as a way of documenting some of the ways in which the Bequest drawings and watercolours were saved. Happily though most books were unharmed.

LMW Turner,
Academy Study of a Standing Male Nude, ?1796 and the offset page bleed