National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery reveals redevelopment plans and details of 2023 David Hockney show

Article: David Styles | Image: © Jamie Fobert Architects

London’s National Portrait Gallery will begin a near three-year closure on 29th June 2020 as planned, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The latest details have now been announced regarding its programming during and after this hiatus.

With redevelopment work scheduled to take place between the end of June 2020 and spring 2023, the Gallery has now confirmed that the highly-successful David Hockney: Drawing from Life show will return as the first major exhibition at the freshly refurbished site.

The venue’s largest redevelopment since opening in 1896, the Inspiring People project will include a ‘comprehensive re-presentation’ of the Gallery’s Collection; restoration of the building’s historic features; and a complete refurbishment, encompassing a new a visitor entrance and public forecourt – with the key aim of enhancing accessibility.

When the pandemic caused the UK Government to impose lockdown restrictions in March, the National Portrait Gallery told Advisor it was “not anticipating the timetable for our Inspiring People redevelopment to be affected”, but that the management team would “continue to closely monitor the situation and act on the advice of the UK government and Public Health England”.

“We had very much hoped we would be able to reopen the Gallery to visitors before our refurbishment commenced, but sadly it is now clear that this won’t be possible,” explains Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of National Portrait Gallery London.

“During our closure, we will continue to find ways to make our Collection available to as many people as possible, creating new and engaging content online, including a new film of our galleries, and sharing works across the UK through an innovative programme of partnerships and collaborations” he adds.

“We look forward to staying connected with all our audiences throughout the redevelopment period through these and to welcoming them back to the transformed Gallery in London in 2023.”

Aside from reprising the Hockney show, it has also been confirmed that Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things will also tour the UK. Dates for this have yet to be confirmed.