The National Gallery has confirmed that it will retain its Pay What You Wish scheme for the forthcoming Frans Hals exhibition.

The Laughing Cavalier, 1624 (c) Trustees of the Wallace Collection, London

The exhibition, opening at the end of September is the first large-scale monographic exhibition devoted to the 17th-century Dutch portrait painter for a generation, and will be bringing some fifty of the artist’s greatest works from museums and private collections from around the world.

The exhibition will follow a largely chronological display of portraits, with separate sections for genre paintings and small portraits, allowing space for Hals’s unsurpassed group portraits from the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, which have rarely left the city since they were painted some four centuries ago.

Since the rediscovery of his work in the 19th century, Hals’s paintings have been held in high regard and have been popular with the public, but it is more than thirty years since a large exhibition devoted to his work was held – in 1989/90.

Banquet of the Officers of the St George Civic Guard, 1627 (c) Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem

The scheme allows you to visit the exhibition on Fridays between 5.30pm and 9pm, where you can pay anything from £1 upwards, and tickets will go on sale on Wednesday 16th August.

The one-pound tickets were introduced for the Lucian Freud exhibition, and the National Gallery says that 60% of those visitors said that they chose to pay an amount based on what they could afford, with 39% also attributing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on their decision. Over the last two paying exhibitions that the scheme has been running, 23% of visitors to After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art and 22% to The Credit Suisse Exhibition – Lucian Freud: New Perspectives said that they were coming to a paying exhibition for the first time.

In the Pay What You Wish scheme, time slots between 5.30pm and 9pm on Fridays, can be booked in advance online, on the phone or in person for a minimum payment of £1. Visitors can also attend Gallery Friday Late talks and events and stay for the later opening hours at the Gallery’s shops, bars and restaurants.

The exhibition, Frans Hals opens at the National Gallery on 30th September 2023 and runs until 21st January 2024.

Tickets, including the Friday offer, go on sale on Wednesday 16th August from here.


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  1. Kameul Hasan says:

    I live in UAE I have resident visa it’s possible to visit your exhibition

  2. Ruby says:

    Can you advise if this “pay what you wish” scheme covers the Paul McCartney/Beatles exhibition?

    • ianVisits says:

      I presume you’re referring to the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery? That’s a different venue.

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