Culture

The National Portrait Gallery is Going on a Break 

From June 2020 the iconic art institution is closing its doors for three years. Here’s everything you need to see before then. 

Shannon Mahanty | 06.11.2019

Share the story
Link copied

In (he)artbreaking news, you have until June 2020 to visit the National Portrait Gallery before it closes its doors for three long years. Home to over 1400 portraits, and the only place you can see a portrait of Stormzy alongside a portrait of King Henry VIII, the gallery is closing for a £35.5 million refurbishment. Scheduled to be completed by 2023, the new-look NPG will include, among other things, a brand new entrance, a learning centre, and a transformation of the East Wing offices into a whole new space which is open to the public. It’s also taking part a complete rehang, meaning that the 2023 iteration promises to showcase more works with women and minority subjects.

Image courtesy of the National portrait gallery 

While the revamp is ultimately a good thing, for those who love instant gratification and public institutions, the temporary closure signals a long, portraitless period. But, with seven months notice, there’s still time to binge-view your favourite pieces. And while some of the collection will be touring other galleries, most will be spending the next three years in storage, so be sure to pay a visit by June. Pay close attention to the current exhibition; Pre-raphaelite Sisters is a collection of new discoveries and unseen works by twelve lesser-known women, previously overlooked in favour of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The exhibition explores their contribution towards the iconic movement, writing women back into the narrative, and putting female artists at the centre of the page. Meanwhile, the NPG’s annual Taylor Wessing Photograph Prize showcases the best in contemporary portrait photography featuring both amateur and established photographers from all over the world. Plus, it goes without saying, the third floor cafe is not to be missed.

​ ​
Share the story
Link copied
Explore more