NPG goes on the road in 3 year closure

The National Portrait Gallery will send its collection on long-term tour while it is closed for a £35.5m development.

The building programme, Inspiring People, is the biggest development since the gallery, founded in 1856, moved to its present site next to the National Gallery in London in 1896, and will take three years to complete after the NPG closes on June 29.

Forty galleries are to be refurbished in a complete transformation, with historic features restored and with a new public entrance. There will also be new catering and retail facilities and a new learning centre.

Meanwhile, 300 portraits a year will be shown around the country in partnerships with regional museums and galleries, including York Art Gallery, the Holburne Museum in Bath, National Museums Liverpool, The Laing, Newcastle, and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, exhibitions which will then tour to other UK venues yet to be finalised. A partnership with Royal Museums Greenwich will start with Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, opening in April 2020.

“This is a unique and important chapter in our history as we embark on our journey to deliver a transformed National Portrait Gallery, which will enable us to become more welcoming and engaging to all and fulfil our role as the nation’s family album” said the NPG’s director, Nicholas Cullinan. “We are delighted to be able to partner with organisations across the UK and internationally to share our collection to new and existing audiences.

“We look forward to hearing from other organisations who are interested in working with us during this time, so that we can make the most of this extraordinary opportunity to circulate a national collection as widely as possible in both innovative and collaborative ways.”

The scheme is being supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the Art Fund, and planning permission was granted in April this year.


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