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Blaze Hits London's Royal Academy of Arts

May 04, 1997|Reuters

LONDON — Firefighters battled a blaze Saturday at London's Royal Academy of Arts, one of the British capital's best-known galleries.

About 100 people were led to safety before firefighters battled the flames and prepared for a major salvage operation.

Burlington House, the world-famous building in Piccadilly, is headquarters of the academy, founded in 1768.

Among the gallery's treasures is Michelangelo's Tondo, one of only four sculptures by the Renaissance master outside Italy.

Academy spokesman David Gordon said a small number of architectural drawings and one or two sculptures had been damaged, but no paintings were affected.

Academy officials said two galleries housing the upcoming annual Summer Exhibition were hit by the fire, which officials said started on the roof, where repairs apparently had been taking place.

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