The gallery has been closed since 2020 to undergo first major redevelopment of its building since 1896.

The Gallery’s North Façade exterior undergoes a major transformation, including the Blavatnik Wing (above) Photo © David Parry

The National Portrait Gallery has announced that it will be reopening to the public on 22 June 2023, following the most significant redevelopment in its history. Supported by longstanding supporter and Reopening Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills, visitors to the new National Portrait Gallery will experience a complete redisplay of the Collection, a transformational refurbishment of the building, as well as an enhanced welcome and greater access through the new Ross Place entrance.

This redevelopment project (titled Inspiring People), includes a comprehensive redisplay of the Gallery’s Collection from the Tudors to today, which will be displayed in refurbished galleries, and the restoration of the Grade I listed building and many historic features. The designs, by Jamie Fobert Architects working in partnership with Purcell, and with the historic gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation, will incorporate the Blavatnik Wing, the entire first floor encompassing nine galleries, which will explore society and culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The designs will also see the return of the Gallery’s East Wing to public use as the Weston Wing, restoring original gallery spaces and creating new retail and catering facilities. 

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “As we approach 2023, the countdown to our reopening after the largest and most comprehensive redevelopment in our history has well and truly begun. I am thrilled to be able to announce the date that our new doors will open to the public, and we eagerly look forward to welcoming visitors back into our transformed Gallery in June.”

Since closing to the public, the gallery has facilitated a number of ambitious partnerships with museums, local groups and schools to bring its Collection closer to communities across the UK. Collaborative exhibitions have enabled the Gallery to share hundreds of works across the country – from St Andrews to Swansea, and Cornwall to Coventry. 

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