National Portrait Gallery to go ahead with scheduled closure as works begin on Inspiring People redevelopment

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National Portrait Gallery to go ahead with scheduled closure as works begin on Inspiring People redevelopment
Proposed North Fašade entrance and forecourt. Jamie Fobert Architects / image by Forbes Massie Studio.

LONDON.- The National Portrait Gallery will close as planned from the 29 June 2020 until spring 2023 while essential building works take place on the Gallery’s Inspiring People redevelopment project. While the Gallery in London is closed, hundreds of portraits from the Collection will be shared across the UK through an exciting programme of partnerships and collaborations, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and a major grant from Art Fund.

The Gallery will offer visitors another opportunity to see the critically acclaimed David Hockney: Drawing from Life by staging the exhibition again when the Gallery re-opens, and Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will tour in the UK, with dates to be confirmed when possible.

Inspiring People is the National Portrait Gallery’s biggest ever development since the building in St Martin’s Place opened in 1896. The project will see a transformed National Portrait Gallery, including a comprehensive re-presentation of the Gallery’s Collection from the Tudors to now across 40 refurbished galleries, combined with a complete refurbishment of the building, restoring historic features, creating a new and more welcoming visitor entrance and public forecourt on the building’s North Fašade, and enhancing the Gallery’s accessibility.

The Gallery, which shut its doors on the 18 March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, had hoped to re-open to visitors before the scheduled closure, but in line with UK government guidelines the building will now remain closed throughout June in order to help contain the spread of the virus and ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery London said: “We had very much hoped we would be able to re-open the Gallery to visitors before our refurbishment commenced, but sadly it is now clear that this won’t be possible. We understand how disappointing this will be for many people who had planned to visit the Gallery for a final time and for those who didn’t have the opportunity to see our acclaimed exhibitions, but we are pleased to be able to announce that we will restage the David Hockney show when the Gallery re-opens and that Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will tour in the UK as planned. During our closure, we will continue to find ways to make our Collection available to as many people as possible, creating new and engaging content online, including a new film of our galleries, and sharing works across the UK through an innovative programme of partnerships and collaborations. We look forward to staying connected with all our audiences throughout the redevelopment period through these and to welcoming them back to the transformed Gallery in London in 2023.”

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