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What started in 1897 as a single gallery of 65 paintings devoted solely to British art has grown and diversified over the last century, providing an essential supplement to the collections of the National Gallery.
The Tate now comprises nearly 70,000 works, spread across four separate museums: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. The Tate Britain's collection retains the original focus, covering British art from 1500 to the present day.
In 2010/11 work began on the Millbank project; an upgrade of the galleries in the South quadrant in order to increase capacity and improve the conditions for the display of art, as well as transforming the appearance of the main entrance.
The results of the gallery refurbishment and the corresponding rehang were unveiled in May 2013, a key feature of which was the BP Walk Through British Art. Comprised of 500 works presented as a chronological walk-through display, it features works by Francis Bacon, John Constable, George Stubbs, J.M.W. Turner, L.S. Lowry, John Everett Millais, David Hockney, Damien Hirst and Rachel Whiteread.
In November, the second phase of the project was unveiled, with a new spiral staircase in the centre of the atrium, a members' cafe and bar in the circular balcony and the reopening of the refurbished Rex Whistler restaurant on the lower floor.
A new Archive Gallery was also opened, for which different contributors select items solely from Tate's archives to create a temporary display.
Tate Britain was one of the finalists for Museum of the Year 2014. To find out more about why it made the short list, watch our video.
Housing a national collection, Tate Britain is the world centre for the study and display of British art. Highlights include a Turner collection of more than 300 paintings and thousands of watercolours, with considerable space also dedicated to two artists of the Romantic age, Constable and William Blake.
The national tradition of portraiture is represented in a fine collection of Elizabethan works, as well as those by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Hogarth 'the father of English painting' whose much-loved Rake's Progress sequence remains a popular draw. The Pre-Raphaelites feature prominently, leading the way to 20th-century galleries that include pieces by Francis Bacon, Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, and Young British Artists such as Emin and Hirst.