National Portrait Gallery, London, getting major makeover

The exterior of the National Portrait Gallery showing the East Wing. © National Portrait Gallery, London

LONDON – In their 60th year of supporting a wide range of projects across the UK, the trustees of the Garfield Weston Foundation have awarded a grant of £5 million towards the creation of a new public wing at the National Portrait Gallery, as part a £35.5 million transformation program, it was announced today.

This generous gift celebrates the long-standing relationship between the gallery and the Weston family and will enable this historic part of the Gallery to return to public use.

Renamed the Weston Wing, the Gallery’s East Wing was used as offices since the 1980s. It will be restored to its original use with top-lit rooms, revealing historic features. More than 500 square meters will be accessible to the public and the restoration of original display galleries will provide an entirely new space in which to present the gallery’s permanent collection and special exhibitions. These together with the expansion of the Main Shop and Basement Café will also become new events venues for the gallery.

Improvements to the exterior of the Weston Wing will include its own dedicated entrance at street level and will provide the entire gallery facade with greater presence and coherence, situated as it is in one of the most iconic locations in Central London, opposite St. Martin-in-the-Fields and next to Trafalgar Square.

“We are extremely grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for their generous support and one of the most significant donations in the gallery’s history. Updating the galleries is a central part of our ‘Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery’ project, which together with an extended national program will provide us with the opportunity to connect with new and existing visitors and ensure the gallery remains relevant to all our audiences in the 21st century,” said Dr. Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, London.