CONSERVATIONISTS are to undertake the painstaking restoration of a 16th century painting in situ in a palace, in what has been described as a technical first.

Preparations to conserve the painting at the National Trust for Scotland's Falkland Palace in Fife are under way, and with the piece too large to move, restoration must take place in a specially set up workshop.

The painting - The Mystic Marriage of St Catherine of Alexandria with St Apollonia, St Joseph and St John the Evangelist - is by acclaimed Italian renaissance painter Francesco Brini and has hung in the Tapestry Gallery at the royal palace for decades.

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The opportunity to carry out vital conservation work came when other artworks were moved around.