A part of a major rebuilding project, the National Portrait Gallery has announced that it will be closing for three years, from the end of June 2020.
The rebuilding, the National Portrait Gallery’s biggest ever development since the building in St Martin’s Place opened in 1896, will see a complete refurbishment of the building, restoring historic features, creating a new visitor entrance and public forecourt on the building’s North Façade.
That will see 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.
The designs by Jamie Fobert Architects will also see the return of the Gallery’s East Wing to public use as the new Weston Wing, including restoring the original gallery spaces, the creation of new retail and catering facilities and its own dedicated entrance at street level; and a new Learning Centre.
It will also see a comprehensive re-display of the Gallery’s Collection from the Tudors to now across 40 refurbished galleries.
The Gallery says that it has secured £32.7 million of its £35.5 million funding target needed to complete the construction works.
While the Gallery is closed, they will be lending 300 portraits a year to other galleries and institutions around the UK so that more people can see the collection.
In London, there will also be a new exhibition at the National Maritime Museum next year featuring over 100 of their portraits spanning 500 years of monarchy.
There will also be a series of projects with the National Gallery, which will include the display of the National Portrait Gallery’s Henry VIII cartoon by Hans Holbein the Younger, shown alongside Holbein’s The Ambassadors, from the National Gallery Collection, for the first time.
The closure of the building in St Martin’s Place will be phased, with some displays closing from late May 2020 leading to full closure in early July 2020.