For the first time in its 400-year history, the Long Gallery's historic ceiling at the National Trust’s Lanhydrock in Cornwall is to undergo full conservation and repair.

The ceiling, which depicts dozens of Biblical scenes, birds, and mythical beasts, will take several months for experts to clean and repair.

The conservation process is taking place in full public view, with visitors invited to observe the intricate work up close from a purpose-built scaffold.

This allows visitors to the gallery to witness the renovation process up close.

Created between 1620 to 1640, the ceiling comprise 24 panels with scenes from the Old Testament Book of Genesis, and is surrounded by over 350 different species of animals, moulded plants and mythical beasts.

Falmouth Packet: A conservator using a sponge and brush to wash the Long Gallery ceiling at National Trust

Charlotte Newman, Lanhydrock’s Collections and house manager, said the ceiling survived a fire that destroyed two wings of the house at Lanhydrock in 1881.

She said: “With many years of monitoring it, however, conservation work is now needed. The plaster has been showing cracks, flaking and discolouration.

"Specialists from Cliveden Conservation will repair the intricate plaster by filling cracks, replicating any lost plaster, washing off the old and discoloured distemper, and reapplying a new layer of distemper to restore the ceiling to its original appearance.”

Peter Bokody, an associate professor of Art History at Plymouth University, has been assisting with the research and documentation of the ceiling.

He said: "Although we don’t have written evidence for who made it, it is highly probable it was crafted by the Abbott family workshop, and really is an incredible reflection of the skill and creativity of local people in the 17th century.”

Falmouth Packet: The parterre with exterior of Long Gallery at National Trust Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Working with a team from Plymouth University, Mr Bokody used the latest technology to capture detailed scans and photographs of the ceiling, with hundreds of photos taken to create a 3D model of the ceiling.

The Long Gallery emptied its 3,400 books and furniture for work to start.

The displaced items are now found along the gallery route, granting visitors a closer look.

An exhibition has been created, showcasing what it takes to handle such a large-scale conservation project.

Ms Newman said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for visitors to witness such a large-scale conservation project in action."

Starting from March 1, the Long Gallery, scaffold tower, and exhibition are open to visitors.