National Portrait Gallery will get new wing as part of refurbishment

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The National Portrait Gallery in London will receive a new wing as part of its renovation when it reopens in 2023.

The Blavatnik Wing will host over a hundred years of British portraiture across nine galleries as part of the gallery’s Inspiring People project.

Paintings by naturalist Charles Darwin and writers Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, the Brontë sisters, and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor will help visitors explore 19th and early 20th century society and culture.

The portraits, which also include suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst, nurse Mary Seacole and prime ministers William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli, date from 1840 to 1945.

Portrait painters include artists Sir John Everett Millais, George Frederic Watts, John Singer Sargent, Laura Knight, Gwen John and Lucian Freud.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said they were “incredibly grateful” to British-American industrialist-turned-media mogul Sir Len Blavatnik and his wife for donating £10 million to helping the project and the “future development” of the gallery. ”.

“I would also like to thank the American Friends of the National Portrait Gallery for their involvement and support,” Dr Cullinan added. “The Blavatnik wing … will be central to our redevelopment.”

Sir Leonard Blavatnik, said: “The Blavatnik Family Foundation is proud to support the National Portrait Gallery and we look forward to next year’s opening.

The gallery said the donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation will also help support the largest development since its building opened in St Martin’s Place in 1896.

A new ticket office, located on Irving Street along the Museum’s new north forecourt, will be built.

A spacious 1,700 square foot space below ground level will also be created.

The project includes a complete re-display of the gallery’s collection – from the Tudors to the present day – combined with a complete renovation of the building, the restoration of historic features, as well as the improvement of accessibility and surrounding areas thanks to the new Ross Place entrance.

The east wing of the gallery will also be restored for public use as the Weston Wing, and there will be a new learning center with specialist equipment, studios and relaxation areas.

The National Portrait Gallery is set to reopen in 2023.

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