National Portrait Gallery collection to travel across the country with Art Fund support

  • Published 5 November 2019

The gallery will share its collection of portraits with the nation, with 300 portraits a year travelling to regions across the country as work begins on the gallery's redevelopment in 2020.

NPG forecourt proposal, Jamie Fobert Architects, Forbes Massie

NPG forecourt proposal, Jamie Fobert Architects, Forbes Massie

The National Portrait Gallery, London, will share its unique collection of portraits with the nation in a major programme of activities across the country, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) and a major new grant from Art Fund, as work begins on the gallery’s Inspiring People redevelopment in July 2020.

This ambitious nationwide programme will show hundreds of works from the National Portrait Gallery’s collection, some of which are rarely loaned, through a series of partnerships and collaborations during the period of redevelopment – which will see the gallery in St Martin’s Place temporarily close to the public from 29 June 2020 until spring 2023, while essential building works take place.

The national programme of activities will include new regional exhibitions drawn from the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) collection; a major partnership with Coventry City of Culture in 2021; a partnership with Royal Museums Greenwich; a series of special projects with the National Gallery; partnerships with communities and schools, and 12 museums and galleries taking part in the NPG’s National Skills and Knowledge exchange programme – as well as the continuation of the gallery’s flagship programme 'Coming Home' and the ‘Faces of Change’ partnership exhibitions with the National Trust.

The gallery is also calling for expressions of interest from organisations interested in partnering with them during this time in order to share the collection around the country as widely as possible.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director, National Portrait Gallery, said: ‘This is a unique and important chapter in our history as we embark on our journey to deliver a transformed National Portrait Gallery, which will enable us to become more welcoming and engaging to all and fulfil our role as the nation’s family album. We are delighted to be able to partner with organisations across the UK and internationally to share our collection to new and existing audiences.

‘We look forward to hearing from other organisations who are interested in working with us during this time, so that we can make the most of this extraordinary opportunity to circulate a national collection as widely as possible in both innovative and collaborative ways.’

Dr Stephen Deuchar, director, Art Fund, said: ‘Over the years we’ve enjoyed helping the NPG bring many important works of art into its collection, but our latest grant breaks new ground in supporting the gallery’s innovative and ambitious plan to share its collections with a broader range of audiences than ever before. We share and applaud their commitment to this energetic nationwide programme which will help forge a new kind of NPG altogether.’

For more information about Inspiring People, visit the National Portrait Gallery's website.