The National Portrait Gallery in London is to close for three years for redevelopment. Some of the works housed in the the gallery will go on tour before the reopening in 2023.
Though it was widely known that redevelopment of the 123-year-old building was planned, the news of the complete closure from 29th June 2020 until Spring 2023 came as a surprise when it was announced last week. The redevelopment, which will cost £35.5m, will include a grander entrance hall and measures to make the galleries more spacious.
300 works from the gallery will go on loan to other national institutions during the closure. They include York Art Gallery, the Holburne Museum in Bath, the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, National Museums Liverpool and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.
There are also plans to show more than 100 royal portraits, at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, Holbein’s works at the Ntional Gallery, and portrait shows touring to National Trust properties including Mottisfont in Hampshire, Basildon Park in Berkshire, and Hughenden in Buckinghamshire.
Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, called the redevelopment “a unique and important chapter in our history” which would transform the gallery and enable it “to become more welcoming and engaging to all and fulfil our role as the nation’s family album”.
The work is being carried out by Jamie Fobert Architects, is called Inspiring People, and represents the gallery’s biggest ever redevelopment since the building in St Martin’s Place opened in 1896.