Pre-1960s, the Gallery industry in London hadn’t changed for some time and visitor numbers were static. With only five members of administrative staff alongside the Director, the Gallery was a subdued place with no means for rejuvenation. The ‘60s was an extremely influential time for not only the NPG but Art institutions as a whole across Britain. Young, dynamic views and foreign influences were breaking into the industry and innovative ideas lead the Gallery out of the 50s and into a new era. Transforming British history and portraiture into something educational, accessible and exciting for a wider audience soon took priority.



The Winter Queen, Elizabeth of Bohemia: Gallery stages its first large scale temporary exhibition

1964 David Piper appointed Director

1966 Visitor figures exceed 250,000

1967 Roy Strong appointed Director

1968 Beaton Portraits 1928-68: first major photographic exhibition staged

1969 Rules governing admission of portraits are changed: living sitters now accepted in the Collection.

1970 Pietro Annigoni’s portrait of Queen Elizabeth II went on display and over 250,000 people saw it in the first 3 months. Visitor figures exceed 500,000 overall.

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