LONDON.- The National Portrait Gallery
today welcomed its two millionth visitors a milestone which sets up the highest annual figures in the Gallerys history when they are published at the end of the month.
The group of visitors through the door when the figure of two million was reached was given a surprise welcome by the Gallerys director Mr Sandy Nairne.
The Cara family from Northampton Melanie, 45, Dave , 44, both doctors, and Josh, 14 were presented with a years Membership to the Gallery (offering them special previews, discounts, and free admission to all paying exhibitions), a £100 voucher for the Portrait Restaurant and copies of the Gallery Guide and Highlights book.
Dave Cara said: This is wonderful. Im a regular visitor to the National Portrait Gallery and most of my knowledge of the history of British monarchs was learnt from my visits here over the years.
The Caras were the two millionth visitors recorded since the 2011-12 financial year started last April (the full figures will be published at the end of this month).
Last years figure was 1,819,442 while the Gallerys previous highest ever figure in 2009-10 was 1,961,843 visits.
The period included the three most-visited months in the Gallerys history: February 2012 and July and August 2011.
100,000 people have already visited the hugely popular Lucian Freud Portraits, and last years BP Portrait Award 2011 exhibition - free entry made possible by BPs sponsorship - received the largest number of visitors for any National Portrait Gallery exhibition (341,050).
Sandy Nairne, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: The growing popularity of the National Portrait Gallery is made possible by having creative and hard-working staff, dedicated volunteers and great trustees, supported through an enterprising combination of public and private sector funding.