After three years of closure for rebuilding works, the National Portrait Gallery has confirmed that it will reopen its doors on 22 June 2023, following the most significant redevelopment in its history.
Although the building has been closed to the public for the past three years, the gallery itself didn’t close as they ran an outreach programme sharing paintings from the collection with venues across the UK, and overseas.
When it reopens next June, the Grade I listed building will have been restored, along with the refurbished galleries and a comprehensive redisplay of the Gallery’s Collection from the Tudors to today.
The refurbishment designs, by Jamie Fobert Architects working in partnership with Purcell will incorporate the newly named Blavatnik Wing, the entire first floor encompassing nine galleries, which will explore society and culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The designs will also see the Gallery’s East Wing, which has been used as offices since the 1980s return to public use as the Weston Wing, restoring original gallery spaces and creating new retail and catering facilities.
The Gallery’s Ross Place entrance will create three new doors, converted from large windows, opening up the North Façade of the building in St Martin’s Place. That also saw the fenced-off park and the unused basement court turned into the new entrance, which should help reduce the crowding problem outside the current entrance that faces onto a narrow pavement.
A new Learning Centre has also been added as part of the works.
Last month it was announced that the Blavatnik Family Foundation had gifted £10 million to the gallery, which apart from funding some of the restoration work, also enabled the purchase of the disused ticket booth opposite the Gallery’s new entrance, which happens to sit on top of a large underground space that the gallery will be able to expand into in the future.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund also provided £9 million, the Garfield Weston Foundation provided £5 million and £4 million from the Ross Foundation, along with other donors to meet the £35 million cost of the project.
The gallery will reopen on 22nd June 2023 – the gallery’s 166th anniversary.