National Portrait Gallery awarded full grant for major redevelopment

National Portrait Gallery forecourt proposal
The National Portrait Gallery has been awarded £9.4million by The National Lottery Heritage Fund for a major redevelopment.

It’s the gallery’s biggest development since the building in St Martin’s Place opened in 1896. It will redisplay every portrait and gallery, restore the historic building and open valuable new spaces, creating a reimagined and accessible gallery for everyone to enjoy.

Meanwhile the stories behind "the nation’s family album" will be shared across the UK and online.

"It will ensure as many people as possible can learn the stories behind the faces of the well-known, and those yet to be discovered, who have helped to shape our lives.”

- Ros Kerslake, The National Lottery Heritage Fund CEO

Onsite transformation

Thanks to National Lottery players, the gallery will undertake its first complete rehanging of each of its portraits and digital interpretation will bring their stories alive for modern audiences.

A welcoming and accessible visitor entrance and public forecourt will be created on the building’s North façade. The East Wing will also be returned to public use as the new Weston Wing. In addition to its restored original galleries, the wing will become home to retail and catering and a learning centre for visitors of all ages.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said: “We are delighted to have secured the full award of £9.4million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and are extremely grateful to National Lottery players across the UK for this. Their support brings us much closer to realising our goal of transforming the National Portrait Gallery to fulfil our role as the nation’s family album.”

Taking stories beyond the walls

The National Portrait Gallery is full of the faces which helped to shape our world, from the Tudors to today.

Malala Yousafzai portrait
Malala Yousafzai portrait 



Across the UK, people will have the chance to take part in the gallery’s most extensive engagement programme yet – sharing the collection and its heritage locally, regionally and online.

A UK-wide schools programme will teach history and art through portraiture. New partnerships have been forged with museums and organisations throughout the country, including a national skills-sharing collaboration.

The gallery will also work with museums in Coventry, Manchester, Southampton and Sheffield on a co-curated exhibition programme for young people which will result in a new artist commission and the display of up to 20 portraits from the Gallery’s Photographic Collection at each partner venue.

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, this substantial investment will enable a major redevelopment, transforming access to the collections onsite, online and across the UK through its partnership programme.

"It will ensure as many people as possible can learn the stories behind the faces of the well-known, and those yet to be discovered, who have helped to shape our lives.”

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