News Release: SIMON SCHAMA CREATES FIVE NEW DISPLAYS AT NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY TO ACCOMPANY MAJOR BOOK AND TV SERIES ON THE FACE OF BRITAIN

Wednesday 1 April 2015

FIVE DISPLAYS – SIMON SCHAMA’S ‘THE FACE OF BRITAIN’
16 Sep 2015 -4 Jan 2016, at the National Portrait Gallery, London npg.org.uk  Admission free

Press View: 16 September 2015, 10.00-13.00 (tour 10.30)

BROADCAST – SIMON SCHAMA’S ‘THE FACE OF BRITAIN’
Five-part TV series on BBC TWO in Autumn 2015

BOOK – ‘THE FACE OF BRITAIN’ BY SIMON SCHAMA
Published Viking / Penguin Random House, Hardback £30 on 16 September 2015

Historian Simon Schama is to join forces with National Portrait Gallery curators to create five intriguing new temporary displays within its permanent collections. Staged throughout the Gallery, portraits from across the Collection will be displayed for the first time by theme rather than chronology, taking a long view of the history of British portraits in each room.    

To coincide with the broadcast and publication in the autumn of a new five-part TV series and book, the display Simon Schama’s The Face of Britain (16 September 2015-4 January 2016), has been developed in partnership with the BBC. The collaboration also involves Oxford Film and TV who are making the television series for BBC Two and Viking / Penguin Random House who will publish the book.

 The displays, chapters and episodes will reflect Simon Schama’s innovative and challenging exploration of the development, character and meanings of British portraiture. Planned with the Gallery’s team of curators led by Chief Curator Dr Tarnya Cooper, each room in the display will comprise a cross-period selection in various media and, like each chapter and episode, will explore one of the following themes: Power, Love, Fame, People and Self. 

Visitors to the Gallery, readers of the book and viewers of the series will be able to see a wide range of British portraits which cross the centuries, so Sir Winston Churchill and Baroness Thatcher might be seen alongside

Elizabeth I (Power); Kenelm and Venetia Digby, with Rossetti and Jane Morris, a Lewis Carroll portrait of Alice Liddell and John Lennon and Yoko One (Love); Francis Drake and Thomas Carlyle with Amy Winehouse (Fame); a group of Suffragettes alongside boxers (People); and a self-portrait room combining Sir Joshua Reynolds, Hogarth and Self created by Marc Quinn from his own blood.

The displays will be integrated into a free gallery trail with between eight to twelve works in each of the five rooms, one room for each theme.    

Dr Tarnya Cooper, Chief Curator, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘This is an exciting opportunity for the Gallery and has allowed us to look at our remarkable Collections in new ways; from grand portraits of monarchs, insightful images of statesmen, writers, actors and reformers, to early photographs of street criers. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Simon Schama whose vision and expertise has brought this project to fruition.’

Ms Pim Baxter, Acting Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘The Gallery has enjoyed working with Simon Schama, the BBC, Oxford Film and TV and Viking / Penguin Random House to bring this innovative project together. We look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration in the autumn and giving our visitors an opportunity to see a number of our key portraits in fascinating new displays.’

Nicolas Kent, Creative Director of Oxford Film and TV, says: ‘Fifteen years after his seminal History of Britain, it’s a pleasure to be working with Simon on a series that brings him back to British history but this time telling a different story, the way portraiture reflects and defines our national identity.’

Daniel Crewe, Publisher, Viking / Penguin Random House, says: ‘It’s incredibly exciting to be working with Simon Schama, the National Portrait Gallery, Oxford Film and TV, and the BBC on this landmark project. It brings together Simon’s passions for British history and art history for the first time, so powerfully – as millions of art fans, viewers, and readers of this brilliantly written, beautiful and fascinating book will see.’

A full programme of events will accompany this display. 

For further Press information, please contact: Neil Evans, Media Relations Manager, National Portrait Gallery: Tel. 020 7 312 2452 (not for publication) / Email nevans@npg.org.uk 

Or Jenny Fry, Penguin Random House Tel: 020 7010 3251 / Email JFry@PenguinRandomhouse.co.uk

Or Emma Fox, Communications Manager, Tel 07973 577781 Email emma.fox@bbc.co.uk

To download press releases and images, please go to: npg.org.uk/press

National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place WC2H 0HE, opening hours Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am – 9pm  (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Nearest Underground: Leicester Square/Charing Cross General information: 0207 306 0055  Recorded information: 020 7312 2463  Website npg.org.uk 


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