Wednesday 9 May 2018

National Portrait Gallery announces new Weston Wing of permanent Collection galleries and exhibition spaces as part of the Gallery’s £35.5m transformation programme

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 its £35.5m transformation programme, Inspiring People, it was announced today, Wednesday 9 May 2018. 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, used as offices since the 1980s will be restored to its original use with top-lit rooms, revealing historic features. More than 500 square metres 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 far 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.

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘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. The creation of the Weston Wing will provide an entirely new space in which to present the Gallery’s permanent Collection and special exhibitions, as well as enhanced retail and catering facilities for our visitors. Updating the galleries is a central part of our Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery project, which together with an extended national programme 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.’

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, says: 'As we celebrate our 60th anniversary in 2018, our Trustees were delighted to support the creation of the new Weston Wing at the National Portrait Gallery. The new space, with its own dedicated entrance, will help open up access to the building and create much needed additional public and gallery spaces. The Foundation has a long relationship with the Gallery and we are delighted to be part of this exciting new phase in the Gallery's history.

David Ross, Chair of Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘On behalf of all our Trustees, I would like to thank the Garfield Weston Foundation for this wonderfully generous grant and for their long standing support of the Gallery. This outstanding £5 million donation, takes us significantly closer to realising the Inspiring People project, the biggest transformation the Gallery has ever undertaken,  which includes a comprehensive re-display of the Collection across all the galleries accompanied by the Gallery’s most extensive programme of activities nationwide.’

With the exception of support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation, which will be awarded to coincide with the charity’s 60th anniversary in 2018, is only the second £5m donation in the Gallery’s history. The Foundation has been a loyal supporter of the Gallery since 1996 when it gave £250,000 towards its Ondaatje Wing (opened in 2000). Since then it has given towards the refurbishment of the Regency Weldon Galleries, on-site storage facilities for the Gallery Collections and has supported numerous acquisitions, including the Van Dyck Self-portrait Appeal in 2014.

The donation comes after the £9.4 million pledged in June 2017 by The National Lottery (HLF) towards the Gallery’s most significant project since the opening of its Ondaatje Wing. Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery will also includefor the first time in its history a comprehensive re-display of the Collection, combined with a significant refurbishment, creating twenty per cent more public and gallery spaces.

The Gallery has appointed Jamie Fobert Architects to lead the building’s development and has now secured £21.6m, 60% of its £35m fundraising target. With the HLF’s support of £9.4m, which includes an initial development grant of £900,000, building work is scheduled to start on Inspiring People in 2020. The Gallery aims to reach its target of £35.5m by March 2019 in order to complete the project by 2022. 

For further Press information, please contact: Laura McKechan, Senior Communications Manager, National Portrait Gallery Tel. 0207321 6620 (not for publication) / Email [email protected] 


Additional Information

Inspiring People: Transforming our National Portrait Gallery will also see the Gallery’s most extensive programme of activities nationwide with plans to engage audiences onsite, locally, regionally and online. As well as extending activities for schools, families, young people and students, there will be a new state-of-the-art Learning Centre with a number of studio spaces. 

A nationwide schools programme for teaching history, citizenship, literacy and art through portraiture will be underpinned by a large-scale training programme for teachers and through targeted university partnerships with PGCE tutors. With this development programme, the Gallery hopes to reach over 200,000 school children across the UK, and over 300,000 young people including those not in education, employment or training. 

New partnerships with museums and organisations throughout the country, will build on the Gallery’s national presence. In Creative Connections the Gallery will 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. 

About the Garfield Weston Foundation

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2018, the Garfield Weston Foundation is a family-founded charitable grant-making foundation which supports causes across the UK with grants totalling well over £60million each year. 2018 also marks its £1billionth donation since it was established.

One of the largest and most respected charitable institutions in the UK, the Weston Family Trustees are descendants of the founder and they take a highly active and hands-on approach. The Foundation's funding comes from an endowment of shares in the family business which includes Twinings, Primark, Kingsmill (all part of Associated British Foods Plc) and Fortnum & Mason amongst others - a successful model that still endures today; as the businesses have grown, so too have the charitable donations.

From small community organisations to large national institutions, the Foundation supports a broad range of charities and activities that make a positive impact in the communities in which they work. More than 1,800 charities across the UK benefit each year from the Foundation's grants.

Previous funding of the National Portrait Gallery by the Garfield Weston Foundation:

1996: £250,000 for the Ondaatje Wing

• 2002: £100,000 towards Regency Weldon Galleries

• 2011: £150,000 support for the Gallery’s on-site storage facilities for Photographs and Archive Collections and works on paper,

Support for many of our acquisition campaigns – most recently £200,000 for the Van Dyck Self-portrait Appeal in 2014.

Breakdown of funding

Total cost of project £35.5m

Amount raised including £5m Garfield Weston donation: £21.6m (60% of total)

National Portrait Gallery, London

Founded in 1856, the aim of the National Portrait Gallery, London is ‘to promote through the medium of portraits the appreciation and understanding of the men and women who have made and are making British history and culture, and ... to promote the appreciation and understanding of portraiture in all media’. The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world.

With over 1000 portraits on display across three floors, from Elizabeth I to David Beckham, the Gallery has something for everyone. Artists featured range from Holbein to Hockney, and the Collection includes work across all media, from painting and sculpture to photography and video. As well as the permanent displays, the Gallery has a diverse and ever-changing programme of exhibitions and events that promote an understanding and appreciation of portraiture in all forms. @NPGLondon

Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)

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